Lionel Messi Has Definitively Proven He Is This Generation’s GOAT
— Updated on 8 June 2023

Lionel Messi Has Definitively Proven He Is This Generation’s GOAT

— Updated on 8 June 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

For years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been competing neck-and-neck for the status of modern football’s GOAT. After the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup (Qatar), it’s safe to say the debate has now been settled.

In the early hours of this morning, Messi’s Argentina walked away from Lusail Stadium with a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout victory over the defending champions in France to seal the deal (initially a 3-3 draw before overtime); claiming the one key trophy that had eluded the 35-year-old striker throughout his insanely decorated career, as well as claiming an honour that hadn’t been experienced by his home country since 1986.

Ordinarily, scoring two goals and converting a penalty in the shoot-out to lead your side to the highest podium would be enough of an accomplishment. But in true GOAT fashion, Lionel Messi added yet another notch to his belt by becoming the first player to score in each round of a FIFA World Cup since the last-16 round was formally introduced circa 1986; along with the countless Man of the Match Awards he collected for the undoubtedly crowded cabinet back at his Rosario mansion.

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The tale of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, however, is also the tale of two very different tournaments.

Where Messi soared to all-new heights of both achievement and regard, Cristiano Ronaldo experienced what is essentially the polar opposite, a certifiable horror show of a FIFA World Cup campaign.

With his acrimonious ousting from Manchester United and the so-called “scandal” surrounding a certain unauthorised interview conducted by professional prick Piers Morgan raging in the background, the public’s opinion of CR7 had never been lower. And what would unfold over the course of Portugal’s five-match run at Qatar certainly wouldn’t help his cause, nor overall career trajectory.

For context, here’s what Ronaldo’s performance looked like in plain numbers…

StatTotalRank Amongst 2022 FIFA World Cup Players
Expected Goals 1.6315th
Expected Assists 0.1=160th
Shots On Target3=85th
Shot Conversion Rate9.1%=79th
Chances Created4=35th
Dribbles Completed0=last
Dribble Success Rate0=last
Touches In Opposition Box20=12th
Successful Passes65=221st
Passes Played Into The Box2=289th
Total Carries15=226th
Progressive Carries 10=208th
Duels Won13=98th
Lionel Messi Has Definitively Proven He Is This Generation's GOAT
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

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… versus Messi’s performance…

StatTotalRank Amongst 2022 FIFA World Cup Players
Expected Goals 6.581st
Expected Assists1.952nd
Shots On Target181st
Shot Conversion Rate21.9%=57th
Chances Created212nd
Dribbles Completed153rd
Dribble Success Rate45.5%=57th
Touches In Opposition Box452nd
Successful Passes29615th
Passes Played Into The Box492nd
Total Carries1457th
Progressive Carries 798th
Duels Won443rd

The cherry on top of this shit sundae? It wasn’t Portugal’s dominant 6-1 success against Switzerland despite his benching. It was Ronaldo’s tragically desperate attempt to pass off Bruno Fernandes’ opening goal against Uruguay as his own before God, VAR, built-in ball sensors, and all the world’s YouTube/Twitter/Instagram replays as his witness.

What’s makes this entire farce so much more pathetic is the fact that he texted Piers Morgan from the locker room almost immediately after the incident to shape the narrative in his favour.

It’s hard to imagine where Cristiano Ronaldo goes from here. By all accounts, we’re witnessing the twilight years of a man who (understandably) refuses to accept the fact his prime years on the pitch are behind him. Based on rumours fuelled by former Manchester United teammate Patrice Evra, we could very well be expecting a retirement announcement soon enough.

Anyway, back to the real story…

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As many of you may already be aware, Lionel Messi’s latest FIFA World Cup campaign is just the tip of the GOAT iceberg. Outside of hoisting the gilded statuette, the man has:

  • Won the Ballon d’Or, football’s most prestigious individual prize, a record seven times (as well as beaning named to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020)
  • Won a record six European Golden Shoes
  • Won a club-record 35 trophies – including 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions Leagues – during his 17-season tenure at FC Barcelona alone; as well as being the club’s record appearance holder and top scorer at 672 goals across 778 games
  • In addition to claiming the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2021 Copa America for Argentina

At the risk of sounding like a goddamn Wikipedia entry, other notable achievements include the following:

  • Record for most goals in La Liga (474)
  • Record for most goals in a La Liga & European league season (50)
  • Record for most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) & the UEFA Champions League (8)
  • Record for most assists in La Liga (192), a single La Liga season (21), & the Copa América (17)
  • Record for most international goals by a South American male player (98)

Greatness redefined.

Side note: looks like Argentina’s copping that warehouse full of untouched Budweiser.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]