Lionel Messi has taken a major step to securing his legacy as the greatest player in the history of football by finally lifting the biggest trophy of them all – the World Cup.
At the age of 35, he’s won the most prestigious trophy going, having scored seven goals at Qatar 2022, while also being given the Golden Ball award for the best individual player.
Some of the biggest names in the sport have declared Messi as the GOAT – above Diego Maradona, Pele, and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having already won seven Ballon d’Or, four Champions Leagues, 11 league titles and countless more trophies, there can be no argument that the Argentinian icon has secured his place in the annals of history.
Here are 18 big names from the world of football that consider Messi to be the greatest of all time.
“He is the best player of all time. I compare him with Pele. I am so happy to see this football,” Guardiola said in 2015, after Messi’s Barcelona knocked Bayern Munich out of the Champions League en route to the treble.
READ: The four times Lionel Messi has faced a Pep Guardiola team and how he fared
Nothing has changed. 🤷🏻♂️🐐 https://t.co/j5GjcKto13
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) December 14, 2022
“Hopefully (Messi) win this World Cup, he is the best player in history and he deserves it,” Modric told reporters, following Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Croatia
“He is having a great World Cup, he is showing his quality and greatness in every game.”
“Losing hurts me, it hurts me… it’s something I haven’t learned to live with yet. When I lost, I went to give a hug to the biggest and best in history that I saw playing,” the Brazilian wrote on social media after losing 1-0 to Messi’s Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final.
“My friend and brother MESSI, I was sad and I told him: ‘You beat me.’ I’m very sad for having lost. But this guy is awesome! I have great respect for what he has done for football and especially for me. I HATE TO LOSE!!!! But enjoy your title, football was waiting for you for that moment! CONGRATULATIONS BROTHER.”
The legendary Arsenal manager had already made up his mind when Messi was just 22 years old.
just arsene wenger (one of the greatest managers of all time) settling the goat debate back in 2011 when messi was 22! pic.twitter.com/8KS6AUYeU3
— taha. (vamos albicelestes 🇦🇷) (@StanAbdurr) December 14, 2022
That is some performance tonight from Messi 🇦🇷⚽️ pic.twitter.com/w4bAsz2YiW
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) December 13, 2022
Wasn’t sure whether I was going to watch the rest of the World Cup after we were eliminated… but how can you turn down the opportunity to watch Leo Messi when he can still play to that level at the age of 35. Honestly astonishing. 🐐
— James Maddison (@Madders10) December 14, 2022
For those who know football know that tonights result didn’t determine whether Messi was the best player ever or not. But yet I’m so happy he did for the people who thought he needed it so now there’s no debate. 🐐 #Messi𓃵
— James Maddison (@Madders10) December 18, 2022
Messi the 🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) December 18, 2022
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) December 18, 2022
“Nothing needs to be said on that,” the Liverpool right-back told talkSPORT during the World Cup.
“The best player ever. As he’s getting older, it’s still magic to watch him. He’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever see again. I’m just trying to enjoy every minute watching him.”
“I sometimes play as a fan and not as a professional footballer, which is maybe my downfall at times,” Robertson reminisced in That Peter Crouch Podcast.
“Me and Fabinho were tracking Messi back and we both ended up on the ground and I just ruffled his hair a bit. He wasn’t too happy and it’s something I wouldn’t do again, that’s for sure.
“It’s disrespectful to the best player who’s ever played the game. That match, I’ve never seen a changing room so pumped up. I don’t know what came over me.
“I do regret it but it’s something everyone always mentions to me. I wasn’t thinking. In the Nou Camp in the first leg I thought I dealt with him as well as I could have but he still walked off with two goals in a 3-0 win and all everyone is talking about is Messi.”
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 18, 2022
“Never mind Messi’s goal scoring records. Never mind that Messi’s the best dribbler ever. Messi’s also the best passer the game’s ever seen,” Lineker tweeted back in 2015.
He evidently hasn’t changed his mind over the years.
Is there still a debate? Asking for a goat.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 13, 2022
“Lionel Messi [is the best player in the world],” the Manchester City midfielder told Goal.
“In my opinion, he has very special abilities. He has talent and he always manages to show it on the pitch. He always has the instinct to make the right decision.
“He uses his speed well against the opponents he plays. He has a strong finish. All in all, no one else has as much quality as Lionel Messi.
“He is the star player of my generation and the greatest footballer of all time. I hope we get to watch him play for a few more years.”
Frenkie de Jong
• Messi showed it once again..
Frenkie: “Yea, obviously. He is the greatest football player of all time.” pic.twitter.com/a5AiMhQVPY
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) December 9, 2022
“You know what, it is such a hard question because obviously what him and Cristiano Ronaldo have done is a freak of nature, nobody will ever do that ever again,” the England international said, speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap.
“Messi, I just feel what he does with a football, he is just special, and I don’t think we will ever see a player like that ever again.”
Lionel Messi. The Best Ever. 🐐
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) December 18, 2022
“You are asking for 50 goals per season. From there, if he doesn’t score them, people talk,” Messi’s former team-mate at PSG told Spanish outlet AS.
“Nor should we forget that Leo has had the all-time record in Ligue 1 – he has hit the post 10 times! If he had scored 10 more goals, it would [have] been a very good season for Leo.
“But for me, he is the best of all time, without any discussion. Now I admire him even more for how he manages his day-to-day life with total humility, [and] always with a smile for people.”
“It is a difficult question, yes, but with Messi I have always said it. He is spectacular. He is at the highest level. For me he is the best,” Oblak told GOAL.
📰-Budweiser sent out 644 numbered bottles of beer, one for each of Messi’s goals at Barcelona, to the keeper he beat to score it.
I know for a fact Iker Casillas is gonna be wavy tonight😂
— TheFCBArmy (@FCBArmy1) December 24, 2020
“Let’s value and enjoy Leo Messi… we don’t know how many centuries will have to pass to see another like him.”
Valoremos y disfrutemos a Leo Messi … no sabemos cuantos siglos tengan que pasar para ver otro como él ☀️🐐
— René Higuita (@higuitarene) December 3, 2022
Is messi the best athlete of all time? Forget just football. What a man.
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) December 18, 2022
It’s his tournament. Messi 🐐🔥
— Beth Mead (@bmeado9) December 13, 2022
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