Lionel Messi’s record speaks for itself. If there’s one footballer who doesn’t need to sell himself, it’s Leo. His excellence doesn’t require cheerleaders or marketing firms convincing football fans of his magic. The Argentinian is arguably the world’s best player at the moment, if not ever.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, his teammates agree. Only a day ago Andres Iniesta said, “Leo Messi is the No 1 in the world. Messi is the best not only for his goals but for his game in general.” Gerard Pique also added his two cents saying Ronaldo is the best player among humans but Messi is from another planet.

Now, by no means do these comments diminish Messi’s accomplishments, but the constant stream of predictable comments from the Catalans reveals less about Messi and more about his teammates’s partiality.

Lately there’s been a surge of them, perhaps because awards season is in full swing.

But Messi is not an underrated player in need of attention. He’s not a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. He doesn’t need the likes of his teammates reminding the world of his sublime football skills. He doesn’t even have to prove anything to anyone because his numbers and achievements are tangibles and can stand independently. The world already knows how great he is. It’s an established fact.

Yet his Barcelona teammates can’t or won’t stop praising him to media.

In all fairness, they’re not the only ones that shower him with deserving compliments. Wenger, De Boer and Ferguson also echo these sentiments, yet praise from outsiders is always appreciated over those from your inner circle.

It’s fine to express your unconditional support and adoration for a player, especially your teammate, but there comes a point when your own personal bias is better left unsaid. If it weren’t for Messi’s numbers, these comments would have little substance.

And really Iniesta? We get it. You both played together since the days of La Masia. Did we really expect you to shock the world and favour Ronaldo?

Undeniably, Barcelona players aren’t alone in their bias. One could argue that Real Madrid is guilty of it too. Pepe, for example, hails Ronaldo as the best player in the world. It also comes as no surprise to hear Jose Mourinho’s thoughts on the issue.

“I think it should be forbidden to say who [is] the best player in the world because these two are from another planet,” Mourinho said. “I would like my player to win [the Ballon d'Or] because he is champion of the best league in the world, but I think they’re both fantastic players.”

Regardless of where a player’s allegiance lies, it’s best if they spare themselves the embarrassment. Because their comments are starting to sound increasingly like a proclamation of love and an extension of the El Clasico derby in the form of press quotes.

Still, in the “praising Messi” stakes, I believe Sid Lowe in The Guardian said it best…

Yet what the consistency of [Messi's] brilliance actually achieves much of the time is to make the extraordinary routine. Just another wonderful Messi goal: like walking past a thousand-year old ruin in Rome that, picked up and placed in Milton Keynes would have them rushing from miles around, and in the Eternal City hardly even gets noticed.

Even so, chances are FIFA will notice, and without the help of Messi’s Barcelona teammates…

Comments (24)

  1. Wonder how many times players are asked about Messi or the Ballon d’Or during a press conference or interview. Do you actually think the players go out of their way to praise Messi?

    It is pretty ridiculous if you think players prepare speeches when in reality they are asked questions from the press.

    • Exaclty, I have read both those interviews, by Pique and Iniesta. Players replied to the questions they were asked. thats it.

      If you think that is terrible, tell your media friends to stop asking such questions.

      Stupid article.

      • Totally agree with your Rajesh.

      • You misunderstood the point of the article. It’s about player bias (in this case Barcelona players). Players are asked all kinds of questions. Expressing a bias is irrelevant to the type of question asked. The players aren’t spoon fed answers or forced to say anything. Whether the journalists asked who they think is the best player doesn’t eliminate the bias factor. Messi, in fact, is one of the most bias players himself when it comes to voting for the Ballon d’Or.

        “Xavi and Iniesta will be there for sure and I am thinking between [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Angel] Di Maria or Aguero,” he said in response to who he’ll vote for.

        Read the full article: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/1211064/lionel-messi-reveals-ballon-d'or-voting-plans?cc=5901

  2. 1) Messi is not “arguably” the best player. It is unarguable.

    2) Those that grew up with Messi know that he is reserved and won’t go to the media or any lengths to spread a “good image”. Therefore Iniesta, Pique, Fabregas, Xavi, etc. all will stick up for him. Not just because he’s the best, but they will compensate for Messi not making a verbal case for himself. They’re doing this for Messi because Messi will not do this for himself.

    3) You don’t see Marcelo, Di Maria, Ramos, Casillas, Kaka, Coentrao, etc. all coming to ronalda’s rescue as much as Barca players do for Messi. Why? 2 reasons. First, they know Messi is truly better. Second, ronalda does all that stuff himself anyways. Only that monster pepe looks up to ronalda. Higuain even came out and said Mess is the best player in the world after an Argentina world cup qualifier.

    4) ronalda isn’t even 2nd best player. Ozil, Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Iniesta, Falcao are all much more important and better.

    5) Remember: ronalda only gets compared to Messi, while Messi is constantly compared to Pele and Maradona. That should be the only clue one needs to figure it out.

    • I literally knew this comment would be here.

      • Who didn’t.

        Anyway one of the two released pics of his newborn. The other has a 2 year old who has never been seen in public. Who wants the publicity?

        • *reads comment…can’t believe what he’s just read…*

          Messi – He’s great full for becoming a dad and in certain cultures, by sharing things and people you love with people who support you and love you is normal and considered a positive behaviour.

          cristiana fcking ronalda – Bangs some random girl and ends up becoming a dad which he’s ashamed about so he keeps his son away from his current boy/girlfriend. So OF COURSE you’re never going to see him. He fcking screwed up. He probably never even goes to see him. And the public is okay with this…??? He’s a role model…???

          Messi – Happy, proud and wants to share it with the world.

          ronalda – pissed off, scared, angry, ashamed and wants to hid it from the world.

          You’d make an awesome journalist Dan, you really would. ;)

      • lol, I have conditioned you Whittall.

        That first year psych class really came in handy =)

    • they compare messi to maradona and pele because they all have the same style of play and the same body type not to mention from the same country and continent. they dont compare ronaldo to them because hes a full grown man, hes 6ft tall 185 lbs plays with power and speed ronaldo is the complete opposite of a maradonna or a pele thats like comparing shaq to jordan,

      • No steve, no.

        They compare Messi to Maradona and Pele because of what they have achieved. What they have done to the football world. Because of the legacy they have created to take football to the next level. They are inspirations.

        Despite ronalda’s supposed natural, physical advantages he still can’t do sht. He’s nothing special. There will others like him.

        When it comes down to pure football…Messi. Wins. Every. Single. Time.

        Oh…what’s that??

        He can’t score freekicks?? Hmmm…seems like everyone’s scoring freekicks these days besides ronalda. *See Ramos freekick vs Panama*

        He can’t score headers??? Champs league final 2009. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        He can’t score shots from 40+ yards out??? No, because he doesn’t do stupid sh#t like that. He’s better at doing much much harder things such as beating 2,3,4,5,6 players and scoring thereby making grown men being paid 100 grand look stupid.

        ronalda is barely even at times compared to Portugal’s own great in Eusebio. That’s because Portuguese people know themselves…ronalda’s a muppet.

        ronalda=shaq

        Messi=Jordan

    • Its arguable that Messi isn’t the best player in the world you drink the same cool aid that the rest of the media drinks, you think Messi’s humility somehow makes him a better player than Ronaldo, because Ronaldo is arrogant and easily unlikable he someone isn’t better than Messi. Your forgetting Messi plays on the greatest team ever assembled the Spanish national team(really referring to Barca but the team consists mainly of Spanish nationals) in probably the only system he could ever play in. Rijkaard tried to use him as a winger he failed miserably, asking to be move to center forward which then made Ibrahimovic expendable. He’s the perfect false nine but he’s only left footed, he’s useless on headers, he’s only now become better at free kicks, and even penalty shots Ronaldo is better than him, not to mention Ronaldo is a significantly better distance shooter than him. For all the goals Messi scored last season and for all the records he broke he couldn’t win LA LIGA and he couldn’t win champions league. Ronaldo is the only player in the history of el clasico’s to score in 6 consecutive el clasico’s think about all the great players these two team boasts and he’s the only one to accomplish this. Not to mention Ronaldo has produced this form over two different leagues and he’s accomplished significantly more on the international stage than Messi, last world cup Ronaldo scored Messi didn’t. So back to my original point yes there is in fact an argument to be made that Messi isn’t the best player in the world, and Ronaldo is more than deserving of the Balon d’or.

      • http://blogs.thescore.com/footyblog/2012/10/12/cox-lionel-messi-is-three-world-class-players-in-one/

        Owned btch. <3

        Oh…were you talking about that one pathetic breakaway goal ronalda scored against North Korea in that 6-1 win…? Yea, big contribution that was!

        Messi hit like 3-4 posts, was involved in everything. It just so happens that he's not on the end of what he creates. On the other hand, ronalda is on the end of whatever Meireles, Moutinho, Veloso, Nani, etc. all create for him.

        ronalda good on penalties??? Yea remember that one against Bayern Munich in the champs league semi finals last year???? THE most important penalty of the season and he fcked up. It was a weak penalty.

        Messi on other hand was unlucky. His was too perfect, right in the top right corner, Cech couldn't have done fck all.

        REALLY??? HAHAHAHAHAAH YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RECORDS BIG GUY??? "….to score in 6 consectuve el clasico's…."

        HAHAHAHAHAH WHAT ELSE MAN?? WHAT. ELSE???

        That's because madrid play a 4-5-1 against Barca with ronalda up top by himself and Ozil giving him perfect through balls on counter attacks. Yes he's scored 6 BUT HOW MANY WERE OF ANY QUALITY???? NONE. All mistakes by Valdez, or against a defence with players like ADRIANO at center back and so on. hahahahaha you're so blind.

        Messi – Everything, everything he does is of the highest quality every single time.

        Did you say something about headers…??? Did you see that goal vs Celtic??? Celtic are composed of players that head the ball for A LIVING. And yet, this little guy destroys BOTH center backs and the goal keeper. ronalda BETTER be good at headers lol. But considering Messi's size and height, his skill with his head has matched ronalda's.

        ONLY LEFT FOOTED??? What the fck. I'm not gonna even say anything. You're a lost cause lol.

        1st year Guardiola era – Messi played on the right wing and destroyed every single team they came up against and went on to win ALL SIX TROPHIES IN ONE YEAR. This was when Eto was playing striker.

        Messi's INSANE GOAL vs Brazil came from the right wing in which he mind fcked marcelo and destroyed the entire Brazilian defence.

        ronalda faces 1-2 markers per match and is granted extreme freedom and doesn't do sht.

        Messi gets marked by 3-5 players and DICTATES the game.

        Barcelona is an amazing team yes. But surely one with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Benzema, Di Maria, Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Higuain, Kaka couldn't be too bad, no?

        Messi makes Barcelona the greatest club team this world has ever seen.

      • There is only one player, only one, in which you could watch highlights of his dribbling, passing, receiving and turning, and scoring. And that is Messi.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwJdt6ZiYfU

        Like I mean, this has no goals, but you could watch this again and again and again. A video trying to showcase ronalda’s passing abilities would last 4 seconds.

        • when you play tiky tac futebol short passes aren’t all that impressive but if that floats your boat I understand.

      • Thanks for pointing out some obvious counterarguments.

  3. gtfo. bias is ok when what they say is true. and in this case, it’s oh so true.

  4. Jesus Christ this Ronaldo bashing is awful. Why cant people enjoy both? Everyone starts PMSing once this starts up. Messi is the best. Ronaldo aint too far behind. Im glad Im able to watch both simply dominate.

  5. Messi is no Paulino Alcántara. 369 goals in 357 games for Barcelona.

    From the Barca wbsite,

    “Alcántara scored what has gone down in history as the “police goal” in a game at Les Corts against Real Sociedad. A powerful shot from the Filipino was heading straight for the goal when a stray policeman somehow got in the way of the ball. Such was the power of the shot that both the ball and policeman ended up in the back of the net.”

    I’d like to see Messi do that!

  6. “If it weren’t for Messi’s numbers, these comments would have little substance.”

    Really Richard? Isn’t this true of anything? This statement holds no value.

    With regards to Messi and Ronaldo, as much as people’s opinions frustrate the hell out of each other, it is quite spectacular to watch either of these two play. They are completely different players, both in style and application, but both are a pleasure to watch. I’m happy I’ll be able to look back and say I saw these two battle it out, because it’s hard to find a time in history when two players of such immense, consistent quality were playing at the same time.

    Oh and Drogba; really??? You’re going to make assumptions about why Ronaldo doesn’t put his child in the public/media spotlight?? Being a sports blog, how about we discuss the things we can pretend to fully comprehend – their abilities on the pitch. Leave the rest of it to TMZ chat rooms.
    PS as much as I don’t agree with your tactics, it is good to see healthy banter in here – keep it up, but keep it on point.

    • “Really Richard?” Dear Majjic, it wouldn’t hurt you to take a look at the author of this article. Hint: it’s not Richard.

      As for you comment “this statement has no value.” Quite the contrary, empty words are nothing without evidence and facts to support them.

      • Hi Alima. welcome to the troll world of the interwebs where everyone is right while at the same time everyone is wrong and there is no mutual exclusivity.

        oh the humanity…..where is the humility.

        good article, fun discussion.

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