Sometimes, I don’t really understand how the Ballon d’Or for 2012 is even a question. Lionel Messi has won it three times in the past, and should win a fourth. When you’re about to break the record for goals in a calendar year, after already setting records for goals in the league, Champions League and an entire season, there shouldn’t be any debate.
No matter how many Real Madrid players campaign for Cristiano Ronaldo (and it’s actually Mourinho doing most of that), a league title and finishing behind Messi in every individual category shouldn’t make a difference. Ronaldo wasn’t that good in the Euro to give himself some sort of advantage. The only good case he has to make for himself is the same reasoning Oscar voters use – He didn’t win one for a few years so let’s give it to him. That shouldn’t be the way it works.
Messi is now at 270 goals in 343 matches in his club career, 301 in 418 including the national team. Now, everyone knows by heart already his blinding 2011-2012 numbers; A record 50 La Liga goals in 37 matches; 14 Champions League goals in 11 matches; 73 Goals in 60 matches counting all club competitions.
Now? The Pele record will be broken. After scoring twice, Lionel Messi has 73 goals in 56 matches played in 2012. The record, set by Pele, is 75. It’s going to take 11 men standing on a goalline to deny Messi breaking this record.
And how does Pele feel about this? While celebrating his 72nd birthday last week means it’s not a good time to disturb his current happy thoughts, there’s no denying the truth. Pele is a perfect example of how Brazilians will back their own while Argentinians do the same when the topic of best players come up. Pele, also being a Santos man through and through, keeps saying Neymar is just as good if not better than Messi, before Neymar has played a single match in a European competition.
Having to see an Argentinian player break his own record must be painful in someway and place, but there will always be some excuse from the player used to be considered as the greatest ever, but by less and less nowadays, with fewer people involved in these debates that actually saw him play during his heyday. Now, the black and white TV recording don’t do him justice according to some, although it can be painful to watch the slow pace of those matches from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Almost like an entire different game.
How much does Messi care about these things? If you believe his own words, not that much. I personally think it’s impossible to be this good and not have a little bit of vanity. I mean, he knows how good he is. He just doesn’t go around flaunting how good he thinks he is and what he thinks he deserves for it, unlike some other players. It might make him a bit more boring than your average superstar, but it definitely makes him a bit more likable, easier to relate with and more pleasing to support, unless you’re a Real Madrid fan.