Lionel Andres Messi came into the 2014-2015 having faced a lot of adversity from the previous campaign; he had guided Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup only to lose out to Germany, he was the face of a lot of wrangles within the Barcelona administration, and he had a tax evasion case hovering over his head. Additionally, his future at Barcelona was uncertain amidst rumors of a potential switch to the English Premier League.

It would be interesting to note that Messi managed to score 41 goals from 46 games in the 2013-2014 season but despite all this he was still deemed to have underperformed. Why? Because it was the first time in 4 seasons that Messi had scored less than 50 goals in a season; it was the first time in a while that he didn’t win the European Golden boot; and finally, it was the first time in 2 seasons that he had scored less goals than the number of games he had played.

Are you listening to these standards being attached to Messi? How would you sleep at night knowing that people expect you to score more than 90 goals a year? How would you perform knowing that going without a goal for a single game, let alone two, is cause for concern for the press and the fans? Sure FC Barcelona pays Messi Kshs. 38 million per week to compensate for these expectations, but is it all worth it? Delivering those expectations is one hell of a mean task, and any mortal man would be forgiven for crashing and burning right at the beginning.

But Messi is no mortal man, it would appear.

Some regard the little magician to be so good that ‘Best in the world’ is no better a fitting tag than the ‘Out of this world and from another planet’ is to him. I too had begun to give in to the belief that Cristiano Ronaldo was the better player of the two, until the beginning of the year. With the pressure of carrying an entire team, an entire organization under scrutiny for backhanded transfer deals and 40 million fans on his back (and that is just Facebook), Messi rose to the occasion to do what was seemingly the impossible. He inspired Barcelona to first place in La Liga, a route that was crowned by Messi’s instrumental performance in the Classico game that took place earlier in the year; additionally, he put Barcelona firmly in the driving seat in the Champions League by controlling Champions League games against Manchester City and Bayern Munich, earning acclaim for his goals and assists in the latter game.

Who is Cristiano Ronaldo? I regard this man as the greatest European player of all time, who can do pretty much anything on the football pitch. Who is Pele? He is the pioneer of a generation of players who scored goals and left several defenders on the floor with reckless abandon, but was lucky enough to play during a time in which rules on defending and offsides weren’t so stringent. Who is Diego Maradona? He is a man with a nearly flawless career (except for the drug usage) and a player I consider to be the second greatest of all time.

Who is Lionel Messi? Player, captain, master goal scorer, genius at assisting, shockingly skillful dribbler, game changer, and title decider. He is playing in a league of its own, and even the utmost of haters know that any league that Messi would play in will be ‘Messi’s league’.

For those still unimpressed by the Argentinian, watch him win the Champions League for Barcelona and subconsciously change your stances.

Article by: Doug L Fresh