After what was another capitulation from Barcelona in the Champions League against PSG, the same criticisms do the rounds on social media at the club's talisman, Lionel Messi. The greatest player on the planet virtually is FC Barcelona these days, but he seems to shoulder the blame for such defeats even though he is not the one leaking countless goals when it matters on the big European stage. He needs to test himself in another league! Ronaldo would never let that happen to his team! Messi doesn't show up in big games! So are football fans bored of Lionel Messi?
You would have to say they are either bored or simply spiteful which is not uncommon amongst football fans in general. Particularly in England we love to see the underdog rise to the top but then shoot them down when they get there. Time after time after time we see the Argentinian score goals that commentators would be in hysterics if it was scored in the Premier League. The quality is so constant that we have become accustomed to it, to the point of complacency where we feel like we have seen these goals before. It is nothing new to see Messi score from a curling free-kick, to go past a few players and find the corner, something that no player can compete with on such a consistent basis.
Above all there just seems to be a clamour for what is regarded as the greatest ever player of the game to fail when possible. Whilst the greatest players clearly do win trophies, Messi has had to carry the burden of both Argentina and Barcelona. Even though his club and country are in relative disarray, he has to take the responsibility of huge shortcomings, from his teammates. Messi has been at the top of the game for so long now that his haters must be bored of seeing the same guy on top, in the same way fans have less interest when a league is not competitive.
The same arguments discounting him as the greatest of all time are laughable at this stage. Whilst staying at one club is normally heralded in the case of Francesco Totti or Xavi at Barcelona himself, this doesn't apply to Messi who seemingly has to prove himself in another division.
I don't think you can getter a bigger example of big games than Messi against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final in 2019. He single handedly took Barcelona into a 3 nil lead from the second leg after scoring 2 and setting up Dembele for a fourth in the last minute which he embarrassingly missed. After Liverpool's famous 4-0 triumph in the second leg, people were still questioning Messi having had a more low key game despite creating some good openings for his side. No champions league trophy for the forward that season but through no fault of his own, this is just testament to the fact that football is a team game and more so, that anyone's reasoning doubting he is the greatest player we've seen in this generation at least, is flawed and quite frankly tragic.
The fact we are now in 2021, having witnessed 17 seasons of greatness and still see these opinions float about is sad. This is a player that elevated my love for the game, playing football in the most creative and flamboyant fashion whilst keeping his efficiency so consistent that he is worlds apart from everyone but the phenomenal Ronaldo when it comes to statistics. As his chapter at Barcelona takes a disappointing end, now is the time to bury the hate and make the most of Lionel Messi and appreciate what we have seen him deliver and still deliver on a football pitch.