With the world Cup barely 10 days away, the football purists have sprung up the debate on the Ronaldo vs Messi, Pele vs Maradona issue with whom, being the greatest of all ?
Let’s list their achievements:-
- Messi – 4 Ballon D’ors ,0 World Cups
- Ronaldo -2 Ballon D’ors, 2 Champions League
- Pele – 2 World Cups
- Maradona – 1 World Cups
Messi has always been a central figure at Barcelona, after his move from Argentina to Spain at the age of 12. Messi made his debut under Frank Rikjaard ,and gradually developed from a winger to a center forward .
Messi came of age when Pep Guardiola, a former Barcelona player took over the reins at Nou Camp. He brought about a change in the team, guiding them to 14 trophies in 4 years, with pundits calling them the greatest team in 30 years. Messi won an impressive 4 consecutive Ballon D’ors, with 2 Champions league in his kitty .Will he be able to fire his home country, Argentina to World Cup glory?
Ronaldo remains an enigma, wherever he goes. He was born in Lisbon, and moved to Manchester United at the age of 18, helping them win 3 Premier League Titles, with a champion’s league title in between. Ronaldo remains a versatile player, with frightening pace, thus being able to hit teams on the counterattack. Will he be able to lead Portugal to World Cup success in Samba land?
Pele, now 74, first burst onto the scene in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, as a 17 year old .He scored a hat trick in the 5-2 rout of Sweden in the final. Pele had dribbling skills, heading ability (the Gordon Banks save in 1970) and the shooting skills. He again led the Selecao to glory in Mexico in 1970.
Maradona, is famous for his Hand of God goal, in the 1986 World Cup, and the dazzling goal vs the Three Lions in the same tourney. Maradona had a deadly left foot, and glided past defenders at will, and also had heading ability, unseen in football at that time due to his height. He famously guided Napoli, to Serie A success in 1990.
While it is right to sit and watch these masters at play, it is wrong to compare. All 4 belong to different eras, heralding a change of style of play. While Pele had to play with a center forward, Messi is part of the tiki-taka Barcelona system which does not have a center forward system.
All eyes now on the greatest spectacle on Earth, which will be starting on the 11th of June 2014.
By Shlomoh Samuel
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