Do you know what G.O.A.T means in sports? G.O.A.T stands for Greatest Of All Time. Being called the G.O.A.T is one of the best accolades an athlete could ever have. Some GOATS that you have probably talked about are Micheal Jordan, Roger Federer, Kobe, LeBron James, etc. The GOAT of any sport is someone who has won any amount of trophies, someone who displays incredible scoring ability, and even an athlete who displays a great personality. I have arguments with my teammates all the time, and sometimes these arguments get heated because we(sports fans in general) develop connections with certain players and teams, which is why we fight to prove they are the best.
I play soccer myself and some of my teammates argue Cristiano Ronaldo is the G.O.A.T because of his athleticism and goals. So, have you ever thought about who the G.O.A.T is for soccer? The ongoing debate on the G.O.A.T of soccer is between arguably the four best players ever, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, and Pele. Even if you don’t know much about soccer or the players, everyone knows or has heard of these players.
The G.O.A.T debate is over though. I have always considered Messi the G.O.A.T, especially since he got me to love the sport and cemented himself with high status after winning the World Cup this past December. Hopefully after reading this article, if you have any doubts, your mind will be changed after reading about these reasons and you will love and appreciate what the G.O.A.T has done for the sport.
5. Goals and Assists
To be the G.O.A.T of any sport you need to be able to score a lot of goals because more goals mean more wins. Lionel Messi has a knack for scoring and assisting. Messi has the most goals and assists combined. He has the most assists all time but the second most goals all time, but it is still an incredible feat. Assists are very important because without them it would be very difficult to score goals. Messi is known to pass to his teammates who then score, and because of this selflessness, Messi has helped his teammates score 388 goals(assisting). Messi has scored 794 goals and assisted 388 times in 1005 appearances. This is very impressive because not only is scoring a lot of goals hard but assisting teammates the amount of times Messi has is incredible. Messi has contributed to 1182 goals across all his teams, which has led to many wins and trophies. His closest competitor is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has the most goals all-time but has fallen short with assists. When picking a G.O.A.T for any sport, stats are everything, and for a sport like soccer one of the most important stats are goals and assists. Soccer is a team sport and any team will be incredibly lucky to have Messi because of what he brings to the table, goals, and assists. Lionel Messi has proven himself the G.O.A.T of scoring and assisting and I love to watch him every time he hits the back of the net.
4. Dribbling Skills
Soccer is a very technical sport. You need to be able to do different skills for different positions. Messi’s position is winger, center attacking mid, or striker, all of these positions require goal-scoring ability, dribbling skills, and passing. Messi has an incredible talent to glide by multiple defenders at a time at high speeds. This is very important for any team because a player like this adds lots of depth to a team. Messi is able to create space for his team and help them move up the field to create goal-scoring opportunities.
When I was five years old I was watching a compilation video of Messi’s skills I was amazed, after that, I truly found a love for the sport and for Messi. One of the most well-known moments of Messi gliding past the defense was in 2015, in the Copa Del Rey final(Spanish Domestic Cup), Messi took the ball on the sideline and brought it up the field getting past three defenders by kicking the ball through their legs and moving it by them(in simplest terms!), then he cut in and took a shot at an almost impossible angle and he scored. Messi is often hailed as the “Little Magician” or “Alien” by commentators and other players, I agree with that because his ability with the ball is one in a million.
Like almost every pro athlete, they all encounter obstacles. But with Messi this was different, he was born with a growth hormone deficiency, which means his growth would be stunted indefinitely without proper medication. Unfortunately, he grew up in Rosario, Argentina where his family struggled to make ends meet. But, due to Messi’s incredible talent, he got signed by Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, and they paid for his treatment. The rest would be history because even if he was far away from his family, he rose up the ranks of the team before he proved himself to be a starter. This story is inspiring because not only was he poor, he had a disease too, and couldn’t pay for medication, which are two incredible obstacles, but he rose to the top and became the best. That’s why Messi, like many other players, can be a role model for kids like me who face lots of obstacles when trying to achieve their dreams, but like Messi, giving up is not an option.
Athletes who have good personalities are generally more loved. Mario Balotelli is an incredible player, but his egotistical and selfish personality led to a quick rise and fall in his career. On the other hand, Messi is known for helping people in need and being a kind person. A recent event that truly shows this personality is after a game in the FIFA world cup in 2018, a journalist told Messi that his mother loves him more than her son, and made a ribbon for him. Messi took the ribbon, and later after winning a game in the World Cup 2018 on his ankle you could see the ribbon.
After winning the World Cup 2022 in December, Messi was found to still be wearing the ribbon on his ankle. I personally love helping people in need and being kind, so having a soccer player who didn’t need to do what he did, really resonates with me when choosing a G.O.A.T. A real-life example of Messi helping people in need is just recently he donated 3.5 million dollars to the people in Turkey and Syria after the devastating earthquake, Messi’s donation surpassed all European clubs’ donations combined.
1. Trophy Cabinet
Messi has the most diverse and biggest trophy cabinet in all of soccer. He has won so much that most players dream of winning. He cemented himself as the G.O.A.T after carrying his team, Argentina to a World Cup Final victory, last won for Argentina by Diego Maradona in 1986. Messi has also won the Ballon d’Or (an award presented annually to the best player in the world of that year) the most, seven times. Messi has won so much more, like the Champions League (a team that wins this is crowned the best team in Europe) three times and the La Liga(Spanish First Division trophy, given to the first place team) 10 times. Ronaldo on the other hand has only won La Liga twice. The greatest thing about his trophy cabinet is that Messi helped his team win every single trophy, for example, during the World Cup he scored seven goals and had three assists, along with scoring a goal in every round of the tournament. Mbappe, the only player to have more goals in the world cup than Messi, only had 2 assists and didn’t score in every round of the world cup. This shows how Messi, which a country on his shoulders, brought his nation to glory.
After reading this article, do you think Messi is the G.O.A.T of soccer? All of the overwhelming evidence seems to suggest yes, the amount of trophies, goals and assists, but ultimately, the G.O.A.T of any sport is an opinion, even if one player seems more obvious than another. So that leads me to ask you this question; Who do you think the GOAT of soccer is?