7 Ridiculous Criticisms Of Lionel Messi Debunked

Chris Wright

8th, March 2012


By Chris Wright

Five goals for the first time ever in a Champions League game (beating his own jointly-held record of four), seven goals off the top of the all-time Champions League scorers chart at the age of 24, 48 goals in 42 games this season (with 20 assists), 53 goals in 49 games for club and country, a total of 228 goals in 311 appearances for Barcelona (including 186 in his last 201 games), five Spanish league titles, three Champions League titles, an Olympic gold medal and individual awards up to his armpits.

Surely there can be no criticism of Lionel Messi? Wrong. The footballing world apparently needs analysis and scepticism, no matter how completely and utterly arbitrary it may be…

1. “He’s only breaking records because he plays in a great team.” – Partially true of course, Messi is joined on the pitch (and on his ‘wavelength’) by the likes of Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta, etc, which can only ever be beneficial – though it can’t be glossed over that it’s Messi alone who’s breaking all the individual scoring records and winning three Ballon d’Ors on the spin. Hardly an anomaly.

However, our main gripe with this line of thinking is that it’s usually trotted out to extol the virtuoso virtues of the apparently solo Cristiano Ronaldo, who has to get by with the measly supporting cast that makes up Real Madrid’s bereft squad. Both players are fantastic and both play in fabulous sides.

2. “He’d struggle in the Premier League/cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke, yadda yadda yadda…” – The logic seems to be that, due to the more physically intense defensive aspect of top flight English footbal, Messi would be starved of the space he needs to flourish. Firstly, need we remind you that Premier League defences tend to consist of the likes of Zat Knight and, secondly, La Liga has it’s fair share of Pepes and, thirdly, it’s fair to say that Messi could dribble a ball blindfolded through Piccadilly Station at rush hour without upsetting anyone’s lukewarm coffee. We reckon he’d probably be alright. Good for 10-15 goals a season at least!

3. “He’s off form.” – Last October, when Messi failed to score in three consecutive Barcelona games against Viktoria Plzen, Sevilla and Granada, the press jumped on him. ‘What’s wrong with Leo?’ they brayed in unison. He then scored a 15-minute hat-trick against Mallorca in the very next game – the point being that he has skewed perspective to the point where three games without a goal represents an all-pervading slump. Need we remind you, Fernando Torres has just passed the 24-hour mark without troubling the scoresheet. Messi hasn’t really been ‘off form’ since he got under way in 2008.

4. “He’s not Maradona!” – Nope. Neither is Carlton Palmer. Or the guy who invented paper clips…

5. “He’s better against the smaller clubs.” – ‘Footballer X puts in more convincing shift when playing against weaker opposition’. Not really an entirely shocking correlation, is it now? The exact same goes for every single footballer on the planet, the difference being that Messi also pootles along quite nicely in the odd Champions League final, El Clasico, etc.

6. “He’s incomplete, he’s no good with his head.” – Pele comes across as a bitter old sod at times, unable to accept his place in the history books as his legacy slowly but surely becomes ever-more redundant in the modern era. He’s been famously dismissive of fellow ‘Greatest Player of all Time’ nominee Diego Maradona ever since the comparisons began, and his reluctancy to allow anyone into the same bracket of greatness as him has now been extended to the latest pretender to the throne. The only fly in the ointment being that Messi is actually quite good with his head.

7. “He’s the square root of shite when he plays for Argentina.” –  Messi has won everything worth winning as a domestic entity and been largely criticised to failing to piggyback Argentina to similar glory over the years. Now, Argentina aren’t geared up to play like Barca and, as such, he’ll probably never win the World Cup, but 22 goals in the space of 67 caps ain’t too shabby.

Any more ridiculous, unwarranted criticisms of Messi you’d like to address? Tell us all about it…

Posted in Barcelona, Champions League, Featured, Top 10s & lists

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  1. Lady B says:

    Bravo! :) *round of applause*

  2. Tinez says:

    Point 7 contradicts point 1

    • Chris says:

      @Tinez: I’m saying that he’s really not that bad when he plays for Argentina, but he’s obviously far more comfortable playing for Barca.

  3. Tinez says:


  4. Inkling says:

    I heard two: “He can’t score from outside the box” and “He doesn’t score nearly enough from free kicks.”
    But both are ridiculous.
    By far the best player ever.

  5. CJ says:

    excellent article. why cant people just be happy that they were alive to witness this amazing talent? i know im greatful i get to watch this football god.

  6. nicko says:

    I hate the “rainy night in Stoke” argument too. I lived in Spain for a while in a city called Valladolid- I had a season to their then La Liga side. He would play at 9/10pm on a rainy freezing night in northern Spain having shit defenders kick lumps out of him. Guess what? He was comfortably the best player on the pitch. He would walk the Premier League- it’s not as if other small players Juan Mata and David Silva do too badly is it?!

  7. moondunce says:

    he’s no Zidane mind…yet at least

  8. lurker says:

    convinced anyone with working legs could score 10-15 for barca with xavi and iniesta pulling the strings.

    messi’s work for afa is representative. and it’s better than most, so there we go…

  9. Arsenesbrasso says:

    Messi is simply a stunning talent & ‘Mr Floppy’ is understandably worried his crown is at risk. He’s only 24 & will be a frighteningly effective footballer for at least another decade. What’s he going to do next? Will he stick with Barca or try a new challenge?

    My only grievance is that he’s almost too nice. I wish he’d do something bad like headbutt someone or have a good of fashioned sex scandal.

  10. Harsh says:

    I started rooting for Messi ever since the 06 World Cup in Germany when nobody knew him . Got his name on my Argentina shirt and people used to laugh at me because he was some supposed unknown, makes me so proud that he is what he is. There is no flaw in his skill or his character.
    Unlike Ronaldo he keeps to himself and avoids diving at the drop of a hat. Greatest player yet.

  11. Richard Dunne says:

    I heard one today “He gets too much protection today, unlike when best and pele played,they got kicked about the pitch”

    Really good article, could feel the passion in your writing, even roy keane could warm to this young man.

    Also, on the headering note – champions league final goal with his head against Man u

  12. jim says:

    He is quality, who cares, he will be at barca for life i suspect and fair play to the guy, so we will never find out if he could or couldnt hack it in England.

    gutting though that spain get the two best players in the world right now, Messi and ronaldo.

  13. soban says:

    for argentina he’s average. for barsa he’s the best of all time. Surely just by a means of logical progression we can come to the conclusion that Messi as a single footballer can’t be rated as he plays for barsa as it is clearly not his ability. Leo Messi: not fit to scrub iniesta and xavi’s boots

  14. Nienke says:

    Messi unknown in 2006? My, that’s… weird. For anyone following the Primera Division just a bit, Messi was a known name since 2004-2005. I remember match reports talking about the great youngster, guided by Ronaldinho en Eto’o. But maybe he was unknown in Engeland, back in the days?

    Maybe we remembered him in Holland too, because of the 2005 Youth WC. Messi was player of the tournament and was unbelievable.

    However, I love him. I love the way he answers to every critic by just scoring more goals, be it header, left-footed, right-footed or whatever. And yes, he’s a bit boring, that’s true. Still dig him more than Cristiano. Twat!

    You’re so right that these criticisms are ridiculous!

  15. CFC_Jay says:

    i just think Messi and co at Barca read situtations in a game phenomenally! one touch passes, audacious through balls, every player wants the ball and can play with the ball. This comes from hours and hours of training with each other and great coaching over a number of seasons, playing consistantly with the same group of players, knowing and complementing each others movement on and off the ball! Messi would be great at any club for sure buts its because he knows Barca and Barca knows him that he is genious and prolific at that!

  16. Tinez says:

    @Chris – if the criticism is that he is only as godly as he is because he plays for Barca, and outside of that he is only ‘good’ when playing for a ‘decent’ team like Argentina, I’d probably mark it as a fair comment rather than a ridiculous one.

  17. syndex says:

    He needs to prove himself at a premier team without the star power of barca, man utd, man city or the other top clubs, before he can be considered as truely great he should spend a couple of seasons at a mid table club maybe like everton where he could really prove himself.

  18. thabigrat says:

    he doesnt score enough using his pancreas.

  19. AJM says:

    In CL footy alone, he is now 4th all time on the scoring list, behind only Henry, Ruud, and Raul. On a goals/game ratio, he’s equal to Ruud at 0.76/game while everyone else in the top 10 is ~0.40-0.60/game. There is no goal record that won’t be his.

  20. John says:

    @soban. Messi is not ‘average’ for Argentina. Do you even watch their games? He plays much deeper for them than he does for Barca, as a creator rather than a goal-scorer and generally plays very well indeed. Re-watch the World Cup group games if you must, he set up nearly every single one of Argentina’s goals. He hasn’t reached quite the same heights for them as he has for Barca but it’s coming…

  21. McRico says:

    If it was the 1950’s Real Madrid would rule world football and Messi would only be 4ft 10″. The way god intended him to be.

    The best? … or just a really successful Lab Mouse?

  22. linekers shorts says:

    Watched messi in 2009 against an american team on summer tour. He played 45 minutes, stood near the sideline looking bored most of it, but when he touched the ball he made the guys he was playing against look like small children. Scored a hattrick with very little effort, I’ve never questioned him since. As far as I care he doesnt need to win a world cup, best player ever.

  23. Archbishop Betty Snagcock says:

    also people should remember 2011-12 for argentina looks like this

    played: 14
    goals: 7
    assists: 10

    not bad at all

  24. snowmanvilla says:

    the author must have been watching the RTE panel last night me thinks

  25. sid says:

    @Harsh – He was actually quite well known by 2006. Pekerman was criticized for not playing Messi more.

  26. axel says:

    he needs to prove in the premier league or so ? what about pele playing ONLY with Santos. And he is recognized as the one of the world’s best?

  27. sid says:

    1) It is not the 1950s

    2) The hormones he took did not make him taller than he would have been had he not taken them. They simply sped up his growing process. Why don’t you research this before speaking about it? This is actually quite common for kids with growth disabilities. And as for your point about “the way God intended him to be”, would you criticize Eric Abidal for overcoming cancer with the use of medicine and surgery? I would surely hope not. The fact that Messi overcame a growth deficiency and is what he is today, is quite an achievement.

    3) It appears that you are a Madridista. I am a cule, yet I still give credit to Ronaldo when he plays well. He is a fantastic player, and I love watching Ozil as well. I don’t root for them, but that’s entirely different than refusing to admit they are phenomenal. Why not just enjoy great players and good football?

  28. dc says:


  29. Giancarlo says:

    I don’t have a gripe with him i’m just sick to death from hearing about Barcelona and Messi. Move on, there are tonnes of other soccer being played.

  30. Joe says:

    Usually, I have an irrational hate for the too-succesful-hyped-up-superstar type. I couldn’t stand Michael Schumacher until he made his comeback and was shit. I hate U2 and Coldplay for being massively succesful (and for making bland, intentionally mass-pleasing music). I despise United and their smug fans-but less so since City came good. And I especially hate that smug, preening and primped Jersey Shore extra Ronaldo, because he’s also very good.

    However, Messi I’ve found it impossible to hate-as much as I’d like to. He works hard for the team (I’d say he leans on his supporting cast far less than Ronaldo does), he rarely does anything controversial either on the field or off and he scores absolutely stonking good goals. Johan Cruijff will always be the greatest player of all time, on account of him having both the leadership/’footballing brain’ AND divine feet, but Messi is definitely and incontrovertibly up there with the very best of them. Hate to be saying this, but we’re all lucky that he’s playing in our lifetime.

  31. FM Fan says:

    No.2 ..is laughable seeing how Stoke were humiliated by Valencia

  32. Phil says:

    Chris you should get in touch with Messi about that Piccadilly station idea of yours, it would make a great commercial.

  33. KingEric7 says:

    Number seven: Olympic gold medal anyone? It’s not a world cup but I wouldn’t exactly be complaining if I had one. Sir Lionel?

  34. Lanthanum says:

    He’s probably not very good at scrabble…

  35. jose says:

    Chris Wright,you are a foolish and stupid human being….Come play football let me see if you will not be flop of all time,jobless haters,enemy of progress who never one to see or hear about successful people…You and your Cristiano Ronaldo should go beg Messi to teach you how to play football…for your information football is all about team work not a one man game,that is why there is team,the Cristiano Ronaldo you are talking about has a team,he should work with his team so he could be better in life

  36. man_dildo says:

    Umm u forgot the main criticism of all…he’s butt ugly!!!

  37. getting_busi says:

    butt ugly? have you seen his girl? her ass is just as good as barca play
    im pretty sure one of his chips on wednesday was with his “weaker” foot.

  38. lui says:

    i do believe Messi is the best for the current era, he is creative, agile, fast, he is a clinical finisher, he pretty much has it all, but in my eyes, until he can score more goals than Pele did through out his life time, he is the 2nd best, because i at least think Messi is better than Maradona.

  39. Sjakie Meulemans says:

    @ Jose: You should probably not comment on articles you don’t understand.

  40. Professor Erno Breastpinchd says:

    Messi plays with some amazing players at Barca, but Pele didn’t exactly play with amateurs. Brazil in his era were full of worldies, so the Xavi, Iniesta argument is flawed. Not many players can win stuff single handed. I’ve always thought Maradona was better than Pele anyway.
    Did someone really say Messi should spend a season at Everton?

  41. Al says:

    @ Jose, ha ha back to the drawing board for you, work harder on your English comprehension.
    @ Professor, yeh, I had to read that twice too, they really siad that.

    The whole not good for Argentina argument is nonsense. 20+ goals and numerous assists at international level is a good record and factoring in his age he will probaly finish his career with 50+ international goals which will be right up there with the top goal
    scorers.If Argentina could get their act together and not have numerous managers coming and going he could possibly lead them to a World Cup win but thats not within his control.

    Champions league football is arguably a much higher standard than a world cup anyway and he seems to do ok at that the odd time

  42. Mr. Sparkle says:

    So many diluted Messi haters on this website.

  43. Ethan says:

    He used HGH?

  44. az says:

    He’s won an olympic medal, the youth world cup.

    Lost in 2006 on penalties in 1/4 finals
    Lost in 2010 in 1/4 finas (the all team just sunk)

    He’s captain of his country at only 24, lost on penalties in 1/4 finals against Uruguay at the last copa america (he shot first, and scored. unlike so many captain/great players who fuck up their shootout (Beckham, Drogba, etc.)

  45. Unkle Tickles says:

    He sucks at alligator wrasslin’.

  46. p says:


    And playing with a bunch of great players isn’t the same as playing with a bunch of great players of the exact same type that come mostly from the same academy and have trained together, the same way for years and years and years. Also, RM isn’t built entirely around CR but barca is built entirely around Messi and has been for years.

    Messi is the best player that drugs, corruption and a mob-like control of youth talent can buy.

  47. p says:

    actually allow me to correct myself, he’s been on HGH not testosterone, which is probably the most effective (and expensive) performance enhancing drug in the world.

    so if you think messi is so great, then barry bonds must be great too– only bonds at least waited til he was an adult to grow his head 3 sizes bigger!

  48. tonyspeed says:

    It’s not his greatness that causes criticisms. It’s the ignorant fools that are hell-bent on calling him god and jesus and the greatest thing to football since leather. The overall band-wagonism is disgusting to people who have actually be watching football since before the late 90s and have seen other footballing greats in their lifetime. We are not high-school girls who have come across the new football Justin Beiber.
    Messi is just one in the next of a long line of footballing greats, and unless the growth hormones he took while in Barcelona youth team gave him super-human abilities, he will be surpassed soon enough.

  49. chris says:

    The greatest thing to football since leather…lmao..something you want to tell us Stevie? Forget Everton if Lionel really wants a challenge I suggest a season or 2 at Villa Park.

  50. Matt says:

    He needs to score with his head and both feet at the same time… As a bicycle kick. Then and ONLY then will I be impressed.

  51. Jos says:

    P you’re an idiot. HGH is a NATURAL growth hormone, that EVERYBODY produces in their body, including you, and allows you to grow when you are in your teenage years. Except some kids who have a disorder where their body doesn’t produce it naturally, so in these cases the HGH is given to them allowing them to grow naturally. And that’s exactly what happened with Messi. You on the other hand are clearly taking something else, something that makes you paranoid and delusional. As a doctor, I would advise you to cut that sh*t, it’s not good for you.

  52. man_dildo says:

    Jos as a doctor, i would advise you to stop pretending to be a a doctor and even more so, stop telling people that you are one. Being a doctor of felatiating men is not really considered a “doctor” in a legit sense

  53. Jair says:

    Are you retarded? You really just said that real Madrid isn’t built around Ronaldo.o Why does he take every free kick even though he couldn’t score one to save his life? Why does he take every penalty? Why are almost all his goals scored from 3 yards out? Because the whole team plays for him. Not to win, the refs ensure that Madrid wins, but so Ronaldo can score and run off to his fruity parties in Hollywood.

  54. DILDOO says:


    he sucks at basketball, therefore he’s a shit and incomplete football player lol

  55. Neil says:

    Messi is the “Chosen one”, end of.

  56. Miguel - NYC says:

    Messi is a great player, there is really no doubt about that. What I love about him the most is the crap load of goals he scores against English teams when it matters most, like 4 against Arsenal in one game or 2 times in 2 different finals in as many games. He made Chelsea (especially Chashley) look like a toy when he was 18 years old.
    With Argentina, he has reached the final of the copa america and won the U20 world cup and the Olympics…being the best player at both of these competitions, and he was clearly their best player at the last world cup and maradona was a crap coach. Sure, Messi does not play the same way in argentina because he’s gotta play like Xavi, Iniesta and like himself. Still he scored 3 against the swiss, and Man U could not beat BASEL!
    Messi is only 24, yet he’s broken more records than the whole english team put together.
    Messi is clearly the best player of his generation and at 24, one of the best ever.
    To all of those who love to criticize him, enjoy watching your teams in the Europa League, where the 2 top teams on the EPL can’t even win at home!

  57. WildScotsman6 says:

    He dives way to…. oh, wait, never mind. You already covered that video Chris! ha!!

  58. Kathies says:

    He’s never played in the team I support, which makes him shit.

  59. @mattbarrycooper says:

    he hasn’t played against the likes of Titus Bramble and Abdoulaye Meite, so for me his is still unproven

  60. Miguel - NYC says:


    There u go…on the day he makes history with his team, Messi scores a hat trick and he doesn’t go down.
    Enjoy haters!

  61. Jake says:

    They always forget his last world cup record over 30 shots on goal and he couldn’t score ONCE.

  62. bella says:

    but the rest of the team did off his rebounds.

  63. bella says:

    for those idiots that bring up the HGH he took for 3 years when was a young teenager, you don’t have to be a doctor but you do need to educated to understand the reason and validity of the treatment. It seems that most people who bring this up are CR lovers who can’t stand that Messi gets all this praise and that it is Messi that is being talked about possibly being the GOAT and not CR. He is also over 2 years younger and will continue to get better and evolve as a true #10, while CR, once he losses his pace, will just be another older goal poacher.

  64. levite says:

    If messi is the best then let him play for osasuna and score a hardtrick against madrid and win the spanish league and win the champions league. I like his game but I love xavi and iniesta much more than messi. This is just the fact

  65. virus says:

    Carlton palmer is a biased idiot.
    He was also a joke as a footballer

  66. Dominik says:

    Messi really sucks at the highest level, against other nations best, i still remember the great 4:0 germany handled them, awww, poor messi, stood no chance against the german dwarf captain xD

    You know, Maradonnas Argentinia wasn’t a better team then messis, but he was a LEADER, he made them play HIS PLAY, he singlehandedly won the damn world cup and almost did again in 1990 (HOORAY FOR BREHME).

    Messi can score in sucky spanish league, against madrid he almost never shines, because they’re the only team on their level.

    and he’s globally loved so much because’s he’s fifa’s poster boy/bitch, the press loves him too, iniesta and co play gamemakers, score, messi gets one goal and they say HE MADE THE GAME
    Messi is a joke.

  67. NNNGS says:

    Well Messi took Hormones.
    Well Messi took Hormones.
    Uh yeah he did

  68. STARBOY says:


  69. timmy says:

    Messi is the only player who can make 29 assists after scoring 73
    goals in a season.
    Messi is the only player who can provide 25 assists after scoring 91
    goals in year.
    Messi is the only player who can score by beating 6 players, can curv
    a free kick from 30-35 yards, can chip the ball from 18 yard.
    Messi has scored in 2009,2011 CL final, 2009,2012 Copa final,
    2009,2011 Club WC final, 2009,2011 UEFA super cup final.He has 10
    goals in Spanish Super Cup finals.
    The only player to score as well as ASSIST in 6 different club
    compititions- La Liga(league), Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club
    World Cup, Copa Del Rey and UEFA Champions League.
    Messi scored maximum 5 goals in 1 match, 4 goals in 7 matches, 3
    goals in 26 matches, 2 goals in 101 matches.Also, he has hattrick of
    assists(3 assists in 1 match) too.
    The whole wide world knows that Messi:Ronaldo (BD)ratio is: 4-2.
    Messi:Ronaldo CL is 3-1.
    Messi:Ronaldo Liga is countless-1.
    Messi:Ronaldo Copa D Rei is numerous-1.
    Messi:Ronaldo Pichichi is countless-1.
    Messi:Ronaldo World Clubs Cup is 2-0.
    Messi:Ronaldo Euro Super Cup is 2-0.
    Messi:Ronaldo CL top shot is 5-1.
    Messi:Ronaldo Spanish Super Cup is 2-1.
    Question: ANY MORE COMPARISONS PLS? Mass Answer: THE
    5 goals- Checked
    4 goals- Checked
    3 goals- Checked
    2 goals- Checked
    3 assists- Checked
    2 assists- Checked
    3 goals and 2 assists- Checked
    2 goals and 2 assists- Checked
    Dives- Checked
    Crying- Checked
    Fighting- Checked
    Play-acting- Checked
    Yellow Card- Checked
    Red Card- Checked
    Own Goal- Double Checked

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