IOL soccer writer Minenhle Mkhize.
IOL soccer writer Minenhle Mkhize.
Lionel Messi has etched himself into football history as one of the sports greatest players. Photo:
Lionel Messi has etched himself into football history as one of the sports greatest players. Photo:
The brilliant, Lionel Messi is a blessing. We are fortunate to have a player of his calibre in our generation.

There’s no doubt that he will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of the beautiful game. The majestic Messi has an ability to turn the impossible into the possible, but only for him.

That’s how special he is.

He has been doing it on a consistent basis. The five-time World Footballer of the Year was instrumental for Barcelona as they took one step closer towards the Uefa Champions League final. Messi is a master of his own craft.

He netted a brace against Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

The opening goal was an easy finish but the second goal was out of this world.

It was a scorcher.

It was a sublime finish.

It was from distance and few people would have believed you if you say that there was a goal coming from that free-kick. But Messi produced an exquisite finish to beat the reliable Alisson Becker between the sticks for Liverpool.

Lionel Messi has etched himself into football history as one of the sports greatest players. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters


Messi is an all-in-one. He can dribble, score with his head, left and right foot, any part of his body. Messi is a complete player. It will take us many years to have a player of his quality again

For me, he doesn’t need to win a major tournament with his country to be regarded as one of the world’s greatest. He has done enough to prove himself as genius for Barcelona. He has been colossal over the last decade for the Catalans. I didn’t have the privilege of watching Pele during his prime because I wasn’t even born when he has tormenting and mesmerising the opposition with his magic feet. I also only saw a few glimpses of Diego Maradona.

Messi is in that mold. What I admire about him, it is that he doesn’t succumb to pressure. Messi loves pressure situations. When his team need him the most, he always turns up and delivers.

Liverpool were tactically astute last week. They pressed Barcelona high and didn’t allow them to start from the back. They created numerous goalscoring opportunities but fluffed them. It was one man that changed the game.

That was the king, Lionel Messi.

Liverpool would have had a fighting chance with a 1-0 or 2-0 defeat but Messi crushed their hopes of a come back at Anfield with a well-taken brace. That’s what happens when you have a player like Messi on the pitch. So, guys, let agree that he doesn’t need to win a major title with Argentina to be regarded as one of the best.

@Minenhlecr7


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