17 years since Leo Messi’s debut

Time flies, or so they say.

Perhaps that’s not so far from the truth given that today is the 17th anniversary of Leo Messi’s debut for Barcelona.

Seventeen years passed in the blink of an eye, and with only a few years at best left before the Argentinian hangs up his boots for good.Whether that will be at Barcelona or elsewhere is unclear at this moment, but one thing is certain… his imprint on the game will never be erased.

The argument as to who is the best ever isn’t really an argument at all.

Yes, there are a handful of players that enter the conversation as some of the best to have ever played the game, but no one has dominated for so long and in so many different facets than Messi.

When you think about the records he has broken and the accolades he was won, it’s scarcely believable, and if you hadn’t witnessed it with your own eyes, you’d swear you were being lied to.

At the time of writing he is single digits away from breaking Pele’s record for most ever goals with one club.

He is the top scorer and assister in Barcelona’s history, El Clasico history and La Liga history.

He is the top assister in the Champions League and is only trailing Cristiano Ronaldo, a natural striker, in the scoring stakes in European football’s premier competition.

He has the most goals in a league season in the top five European leagues, and the most goals in a calendar year.

He is the only player in history to score against all of his league opponents consecutively in the same season.

He holds a record six European Golden Shoes and a record six Ballon d’Or’s.

The only thing that’s always held against him is that he’s never won a World Cup, but let’s be honest here…. that’s a maximum of six games over a four-week period with players who aren’t always at the required level.

That’s a little bit different to doing the business week in and week out, season in, season out for 17 years.

Leo Messi simply has nothing to prove to anyone and to denigrate his contribution to the game is mischievous at best.

Whether you count him as the best ever or not, don’t take away what he has done to elevate the world of football into an art form.

Thank you, Leo.

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