Before giving my opinion on who is the greatest ever, let us look at the analysis made by the new football experts, who have come out in force in the last few years. These are the people who make internet memes and trolls. The understanding they have of football is immense. According to them, out of Messi and Ronaldo, one is greatest because he pays taxes and the other doesn’t. One is greatest because he is married to his childhood sweetheart and other acts as a playboy. I can go on but I would like to tell these experts to go and play FIFA (the game) because their opinion is nonsense. But you will still find people believing them.
Now if you ask me, I would say both of them are not the greatest ever for miles. But me being a coward, I won’t tell you whom I think is the greatest. Whenever people call these people the greatest ever, the only question that pops into my mind is “look at the puny defenders these guys have faced!” Who is toughest looking defender you know of the current crop? Pepe? Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Jaap Staam (to name a few great defenders) would have laughed at his attempts at defending. We have lost the art of defending. Ronaldo(the fat one,) Zidane, Van Basten would have made the current generation of defender cry for their mommies. The defenders are more scared of getting nutmegged than having enough guts to go through with their tackle. Comparing the defenders faced by Ronaldo (again the fat one) in the 2002 World Cup, some of whom were Paolo Maldini, Nesta, Linke, Bierhoff looks like daunting task compared to Mats Hummels, Gary Cahill, Daley Blind and etc, faced by Messi and Cristiano. No disrespect to the above mentioned defenders, they simply are not in the bracket as that of their older colleagues. You don’t need me tell you about the goals and dribbling of Pele and Maradona.
Consider Alessandro Del Piero. Many of the Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea fans, by whom I mean the fans who have watched football for last 4-5years and consider themselves football experts, just know that he played for Juventus and was their captain for a long time. He can score goals. He has scored goals against better players than the above two have. He can do tricks. Why don’t you consider him the greatest? He never complained about salary, fought with the manager or left the club when it was in shambles. I for one rate him better than the above two.
Talking to football fans who are well into their adulthood, who have forgotten about more footballers than we could remember, helps me understand a bit better about this topic. Many of them don’t even take Messi or Ronaldo’s name. They talk about the Zindanes, the Bests, the Keegans, the Zolas, the Beckenbauers, etc. That gives you a fair idea regarding the false image the current generations of fans live in. I strongly suggest they watch some old football matches of the 80s, 90s or 2000s to understand how better the others were.
Ronaldo and Messi might be the best today but not the greatest ever. There were better footballers than them in the past, there will be better in the future. In football it is hard to call only one player the greatest ever.