According to living legend and human formed fertility deity Pele, Lionel Messi cannot be ranked alongside him in the pantheon of greatness until he has matched the great one’s feat of scoring 1,000 goals.
“They are always trying to compare someone to Pele,” he said. “I always joke with my Argentine friends that they must first choose who is the best player from Argentina.
“Then, when one of them scores a thousand goals, then we can start talking.”
Fair cop you’d think. Of course, Messi would be well advised to move back to South America for the rest of his career as well – Europe’s a silly place to ply your trade as a footballer – and he should also really start counting friendlies and exhibition games as proper matches, they clearly are. The goals he scored in the playground or in his garden are worth a shout too.
But other than scoring in non competitive games against small provincial mining towns with semi professional postal workers as left backs, what more does little Lionel Flair have to do to gain parity with the two seemingly unassailable legends of the beautiful game?
Move to the USA – Messi can’t be considered truly great until he’s played in the fiercely competitive MLS. Pele went to the New York Cosmos when he was 35, and along with Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and former Coventry City maestro Stephen Hunt, helped put Soccer on the map in the land of the egg ball. If Lionel could succeed where both Pele and supreme Lord David of the marketable crotches failed, and make football a serious big sport in the most competitive sporting country in the world, he’d surely rank as one of the greatest to play the game.
Prove his manliness by advertising some embarrassing affliction – Yes, that’s right, we’re on to Viagra already. Pele proved his fearlessness and overt alpha male bravery by shunning the status of God like sex king, and embracing the world of impotence. If Messi truly wants to be considered great, he needs to become the champion of a similarly unflattering cause. This might not necessarily apply solely to erectile dysfunction though, he could champion back hair for example, or petite and effeminate hands. He’s already done wonders for the cause of people whose mothers still cut their hair.
Move to Fulham and become Welsh – One of the primary things that elevated Diego Maradona to the status of demi-god was his ability to propel average teams to greatness. Napoli would never have won the Scudetto had they not had the pint sized, mafia made Hoover nosed little tyro on their side. With Barcelona a far too complete team to rely on just one player, he’d be well advised to move to Craven Cottage, where he could help Bobby Zamora become a world beater. He’d also need to propel his country to the World Cup, but since Argentina are blessed with far too much talent at present, and since a small southern part of the country speaks Welsh, Wales seems like the most natural fit.
Play in the World Cup off his tiny t*ts – One of the most enduring memories of Maradona’s career is the sight of him screaming insanely down a camera lens after scoring for the Argies at USA 94, only a few days before being kicked out of the tournament for coke abuse. Yes drugs are bad, and yes he’s a very naughty boy, but the feat of playing and scoring such a cracking goal whilst up to your eyeballs in twitchy paranoiac edginess is one only worthy of the greatest. If he really wants to best his idol and coach, he could maybe give heroin a try. I’m sure Diego still has the contacts.
Get a haircut. – This won’t necessarily make him great, but it wouldn’t hurt.
Hmmm, what else?