Who is the GOAT? Does this make him the GOAT? If he doesn’t win an international tournament, does that stop him from becoming the GOAT? You might not be familiar with this acronym, but you’ll certainly be familiar the the phrase in its fullest form. The GOAT refers to the ‘greatest of all time’ and it is one of football’s favourite talking points. While it might be mildly entertaining to hear pundits give their opinion on all things GOAT, isn’t it about time we put an end to this debate once and for all.
Rather than debate on the machine like qualities of Ronaldo, or the abstract artistry of Messi, maybe we should just appreciate the two for there considerably different attributes. Maybe we should stop comparing this generations most dominant forces with players from years gone by. As Rob Smyth brilliantly put it; Cruyff, Maradona and Pelé played a different sport. Compare yes, but definitively choose an individual in what is ultimately a team sport seems pointless. Especially if it detracts from the achievements of the man not named the GOAT.
How can you possibly compare Ronaldo to Messi? It’s like comparing a Lamborghini Aventador with Picasso classic. If your arguing about which player you prefer to watch then fair enough. But to crown one as the GOAT is impossible. Even if Ronaldo wins a trophy with Portugal, does it really elevate him above any of the other players who are burdened with this arbitrary label.
Undoubtedly any victory or loss will trigger this redundant debate again. If Ronaldo or Messi manage to win a trophy with their international teams it’ll be the cherry on the icing on the cake of their illustrious careers. But please don’t begin to compare them with players who played on pitches made up of dust and mud, against defenders who were given the all clear to attempt murder. In this sense the game has become easier, but the developments in sports science and a non-stop global schedule has arguably made it harder. By even hinting at the arguments for or against, I’m simply opening up Pandora’s box.
Rather than trying to work out an unanswerable question that relies on so many different variables, why not just appreciate that players like Ronaldo, Messi, Maradona, Platini, Zidane, Pelé and Cruyff were born. Born to play football and entertain us all, not to be labelled the GOAT.