Lionel Messi has bagged best men’s players at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk finished third and second respectively.
It is the sixth time Messi has been adjudged the world’s finest, after his triumphs in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The 32-year-old Argentine led Barcelona to a consecutive La Liga win. He also top-scored to take his team to semi-finals of the Champions League. Meanwhile, United States forward Megan Rapinoe took home the top prize in women’s category.
Messi’s closest competitor was Virgil Van Dijk who marshaled the Liverpool defense to a historic league campaign which they lost by the finest of margins to Manchester City and also played a huge role in their sixth European glory. Likewise, Messi had an exceptional season, winning the Golden Boot and topping the scoring charts UEFA Champions League.
Van Dijk’s contribution to Liverpool since joining them cannot be measured as his impact has been gargantuan that goes beyond the metrics of stats. However, the same can be said of Messi.
From the outside, his stats are a notch above the best forwards in the world. But it would be foolish to judge the arguably the greatest player ever by merely scoring stats. He has been the lone creative threat in a Barcelona team devoid of creativity since Iniesta declined and Neymar left.
Messi’s otherworldly assists and chances created statistics are a testimony to that. He is playing in essence as an attacking midfielder while posing stats that of the world’s best striker.
Ronaldo doesn’t even enter the above discussion as it’s a controversial decision to include him in the top 3 nominees in the first place. Bernardo Silva, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and even Tadic arguably had a better season than Ronaldo.
Long story short, Messi is a genius beyond the understanding of most people. Appreciate him, enjoy greatness and cherish him as long as he is still playing.