Game recognises game, and from one GOAT to another, Tiger Woods has hailed the “stupid” ability of Argentine great Lionel Messi after the mercurial number 10 finally captured a World Cup trophy.
Messi proved instrumental in Argentina’s victory over France in Doha, scoring twice as the enthralling contest finished 3-3 after 120 minutes before coolly dispatching his spot-kick en route to a 4-2 shootout win.
Woods has had plenty of exposure to “soccer” since his daughter Sam and son Charlie picked up the game, and the 15-time Major winner has no doubt as to who is the best player he’s seen play the so-called beautiful game, and that’s Messi, widely regarded as the greatest to ever kick a ball.
“He’s the greatest soccer player I’ve ever seen,” Woods said.
“You say Pele, Maradona, but I just still think that what Messi does with the ball, it’s stupid.
“It’s stuck to his foot. What he makes people miss, I mean, that left foot of his, it’s made many a goalkeeper look bad!”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 18, 2022
Indeed, Messi has made many a goalkeeper, and outfield player for that matter, look foolish down the years. He’s now scored 793 goals and enjoyed 350 assists from a little over 1000 games, while at 35, Messi scored seven goals and provided three assists on his way to winning the Golden Ball in Qatar.
Messi has long captured the imagination of football die-hards and those unfamiliar with the game. Hell, I could even hear my sister, who last watched a game of ball when the nation held its breath in 1990, scream at the TV, “C’mon Messi, do something with your magic feet!” as tensions built throughout an unforgettable encounter.
Such magic transcends sport. We’re all drawn to it, regardless of background, and it’s the little magician, Messi, who has understandably attracted most praise following Argentina’s first World Cup victory since Mexico ’86.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama wrote; “Congrats to Argentina and to the GOAT, Lionel Messi, for an amazing World Cup victory.”
Tennis star, Andy Murray asked the question; “Is Messi the best athlete of all time? Forget just football. What a man.”
While Roy Keane illustrated what makes Messi so great;
“A sign of greatness is when you make the players around you better, and he does that. That’s not up for debate. He’s a great, great player. It’s great to see him win that trophy.”
Hear, hear, Roy. And in even better news, Messi wasn’t even entertaining the idea of retirement following his side’s famous win.
“I want to keep experiencing a few more matches as world champion,” he said. “I was lucky to clinch every title in my career, this was the only one missing. I want to take this one there [to Argentina] and enjoy it with everybody else.”
And not to be getting ahead of ourselves but his national coach, Lionel Scaloni said the door will remain wide open for Messi for the World Cup in 2026 should he harbour ambitions of a repeat:
“We need to save him for the next World Cup – 2026. If he wants to keep playing, he will be with us. He is more than entitled to decide what he wants to do with his career now.”