The perennial Messi / Ronaldo debate has become stale. They’re both incredible talents and the fact that they have come along together is remarkable. One sticking point that often comes up in the defence of Ronaldo is the fact that he’s Premier League proven.
On the other hand, Messi has fired Barcelona to eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. He’s done it all. He’s won it all – both individually and as a team. What more is there for him to do at Barcelona?
For a long time, it was claimed that Messi would be too small for the Premier League and his style would be stamped out by the bigger teams. But the Premier League isn’t as physical as it once was. Players receive much more protection from referees and smaller players often thrive. Their low centre of gravity allows them to twist and turn against less mobile ‘big players’.
David Silva, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sánchez, Sergio Agüero, and Eden Hazard are prime examples of this. All five are relatively similar in stature to Messi and all five have excelled. They all have different playing styles but the one thing they have in common is intelligence. And Messi’s footballing intelligence is on another level to all of them.
The speed of his decision making, his ball control and pace allow Messi to move the ball so quickly that defenders struggle to get close to him. He gets kicked more than anyone else in La Liga but he picks himself up and gets on with it. That means he’s unlikely to be affected by brutal, old school English opponents.
Along with his incredible dribbling and finishing ability, Messi is a team player. This is evidenced by the fact that he has registered almost 250 assists in his career. The importance of this cannot be under estimated in England. Messi’s ability to set his ego aside for the good of the team would ensure consistent results for whichever club he joins.
Messi can also turn games on their head with individual brilliance. His ability to step up and rescue his team when things aren’t working is unrivalled. Whether it’s by beating five players before slotting it home or from a dead ball situation – Messi’s ice cool approach ensures he’s ruthless when it matters most.
This ability would fit in seamlessly to the Premier League. He would raise the standard of any team and is likely to raise the standard of the league as a whole – much like Ronaldo did in his last few years at United.
Any move seems highly unlikely but it’s fairly safe to say Lionel Messi would more than excel in the Premier League.