Messi and Ronaldo aren’t the best ever

You’re an adult. So stop there with your insults and over-the-top reactions to the headline. Honestly, grow the fuck up.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t the best ever. And that’s not because there’s someone I perceive as better, it’s because the ‘best ever’ doesn’t exist.

It can’t. It isn’t a thing. It’s all relative.

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Ask your parents generation, who was the best ever; they’ll say something along the lines of “Maradona” or “Pele“; two exceptional talents, we are told; a duo at the top of their game.

No denying the pair did things with a football that 99% of their peers couldn’t even dream up in their head, let alone try and transition it onto the pitch.

Now ask your grandparents; and the answer will differ again. Anyone who has Manchester United-supporting grandparents, probably gets the answer “Georgie Best”, but anyone from that generation – without blinkered vision – might utter a name along the lines of “Ferenc Puskás”.

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Ask us, millennials? Well, yeah, we will give you Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Mesut Ozil(?).

Despite the difference in opinions, all generations do share one thing in common when coming to their conclusion on the best ever footballer. It’s that they’ve arrived at their answer, forgetting that it’s nothing but opinion – an opinion influenced by whoever was the ‘cool’ player, when they were growing up, at an impressionable age.

The ‘best ever’ debate doesn’t factor in the evolution of man…


…George Best would look more like Charlie Adam in today’s game, Pele a budget Sam Vokes and Puskas would probably represent a worse option from the bench than Victor Anichebe.

We are evolving all the time; players are fitter and stronger than 10 years ago, let alone 50. The game has changed, it’s more technical and has advanced beyond anyone’s expectations.

And that works both ways, Messi and Ronaldo wouldn’t be able to cut it in the 50s or 60s; they’re too delicate.

The Ballon d’Or winners if Messi and Ronaldo didn’t exist

The biggest issue that arises when having those tirelessly inane and pointlessly heated ‘best ever’ debates is that people seem to forget that defensive-midfielders, full-backs, centre-halves and goalkeepers exist or ever existed.

If you really want to find the best ever footballer, then you can’t discount – to name just four of hundreds (maybe thousands) of candidates – Oliver Kahn, Paolo Maldini, Bobby Moore or Graeme Souness – someone you can discount, though, is Paul Scholes.

The debate has ended up becoming the same as kids in the school playground arguing over who is going to be Messi at lunchtime.

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Perhaps you can be, at most, the best of your generation. But it’s unfair to separate Ronaldo from Best, and Messi from Lev Yashin.

Just don’t kid yourselves that there won’t be another Messi or Ronaldo; no one thought we’d see another player like Maradona.

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