Redcafe's Greatest Players' Peaks Project

Gio

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I'll do the same as Joga and split them into categories.

This is since the 90ish(included Baresi and Matthaus who overlap a bit)

LB: Maldini 93-95 - hard to look past him, especially during those 3 seasons. Top class defender who can play both centrally and on the left.
CB: Baresi 89-91 - the best central defender I've ever seen. Some notable performances of course the WC 94 against Romario and in 1990 against Holland of Gullit, Van Basten etc.
CB: Nesta 00-02 - pure defender, very subtle, elegant hard to look past him, despite some other stoppers from the 90's like Kohler, Desailly, etc...
RB: Zanetti 97-99 - personal preference, but Cafu of course has a serious claim for that spot.

DM: Redondo 97-99 - still remember that performance against us in CL.
CM(Playmaker): Xavi 08-10(11) - notch above anyone else. Bossed the midfield for probably one of the best club and national sides of all time.
B2B: Matthaus 89-91 - again notch above some of the rest memorable players since the 90's(Keane, Vieira, Davids, etc..)

LW: Ronaldinho 04-06
- unplayable on his day. The most entertaining player I've ever seen. He changed Barca and laid the foundations for its domination couple of years later. Highlights - the games against Milan and Chelsea.
CF: Fenomeno 96-98- best player I've seen live - that season with Barca was incredible and unstoppable.
RW: Messi 11-13 - I think many will cover him in their descriptions.
Spot on - I think I agree man-for-man with this. If it's a team building thing, my only difference would possibly be Rivaldo 98-01 in for Ronaldinho because he formed such a devastating partnership with Ronaldo. But six and half a dozen really and Ronaldinho's peak is hard to beat by anyone, ever. Of course Zanetti/Cafu/Thuram are interchangeable. If we're looking at different positions, then perhaps an AM one could be included, which opens up a spot for any one of Zidane, Laudrup, Baggio, Iniesta and Rivaldo again.
 

Joga Bonito

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I'll do the same as Joga and split them into categories.

This is since the 90ish(included Baresi and Matthaus who overlap a bit)

LB: Maldini 93-95 - hard to look past him, especially during those 3 seasons. Top class defender who can play both centrally and on the left.
CB: Baresi 89-91 - the best central defender I've ever seen. Some notable performances of course the WC 94 against Romario and in 1990 against Holland of Gullit, Van Basten etc.
CB: Nesta 00-02 - pure defender, very subtle, elegant hard to look past him, despite some other stoppers from the 90's like Kohler, Desailly, etc...
RB: Zanetti 97-99 - personal preference, but Cafu of course has a serious claim for that spot.

DM: Redondo 97-99 - still remember that performance against us in CL.
CM(Playmaker): Xavi 08-10(11) - notch above anyone else. Bossed the midfield for probably one of the best club and national sides of all time.
B2B: Matthaus 89-91 - again notch above some of the rest memorable players since the 90's(Keane, Vieira, Davids, etc..)

LW: Ronaldinho 04-06
- unplayable on his day. The most entertaining player I've ever seen. He changed Barca and laid the foundations for its domination couple of years later. Highlights - the games against Milan and Chelsea.
CF: Fenomeno 96-98- best player I've seen live - that season with Barca was incredible and unstoppable.
RW: Messi 11-13 - I think many will cover him in their descriptions.
Agreed with the majority of choices although I'd have Cristiano and Rivaldo over Ronaldinho whilst Desailly edges out Redondo for me.
 

Enigma_87

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Spot on - I think I agree man-for-man with this. If it's a team building thing, my only difference would possibly be Rivaldo 98-01 in for Ronaldinho because he formed such a devastating partnership with Ronaldo. But six and half a dozen really and Ronaldinho's peak is hard to beat by anyone, ever. Of course Zanetti/Cafu/Thuram are interchangeable. If we're looking at different positions, then perhaps an AM one could be included, which opens up a spot for any one of Zidane, Laudrup, Baggio, Iniesta and Rivaldo again.
Agreed as well. Personally for me it's between Laudrup and Iniesta for the #10 spot who just pip Zidane and Rivaldo. Of course many would disagree and put Zidane there, but Laudrup in that dream team was good as any in the beginning of the 90's. Truly special player whose decision to miss the EURO's hurt his legacy a bit as in my mind he would've absolutely starred there.

I considered Thuram for CB and in a 3-5-2 you'd be spot on for that RCB spot.

Agreed with the majority of choices although I'd have Cristiano and Rivaldo over Ronaldinho whilst Desailly edges out Redondo for me.
Yeah, Cristiano might be more effective and his longevity boosts his credentials, but Goofy was something else for me if we compare just peaks. The most talented player I ever seen. He wasn't as fast and as explosive as Fenomeno(but then who is) but he was just as unpredictable as he was. You can never expect his next move as Dinho didn't repeat his tricks and faints, it seemed like an endless repertoire of pulling magic out of a hat.

It's a shame he couldn't keep his focus for a longer period. At his absolute peak since the 90's(as before that you had players like Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Garrincha, Platini, Best,Eusebio, Di Stefano etc) I'd take only Fenomeno and Messi above him.

Redondo I agree that in terms of stature in the game you can put Rijkaard and Desailly before him, but as a personal choice I always liked Redondo a tad more as he bossed almost by himself some of the great midfield lines of the 90's. Incredible player.
Didn't include Rijkaard as IMO his peak was just before the 90's.
 

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George Best - Iconic Winger


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: 2 games against Benfica (Eusebio) in 1966 and 1968 (European Cup Final).





George Best's greatest night - 1966
George Best tore Benfica to shreds in a classic European Cup tie in Lisbon 50 years ago today (Wednesday), scoring twice in a stunning 5-1 win. Here, you can read an extract from Inside United's 10-page tribute to that incredible performance...

When George Best walked onto the pitch at the Stadium of Light, he was already a star. After all, he was a Manchester United player into his third season in the first team, knocking in goals and weaving his shimmy-hipped magic up and down the land, and already a Division One champion.

But if his profile was on the up before kick-off of that famous European Cup quarter-final second leg, 15 minutes into the match it was positively rocketing skywards. By then, he’d scored twice and was leading a blitzing of the Portuguese heavyweights.

By the time he touched down back in England – sombrero on head and ‘fifth Beatle’ sobriquet in vogue – his feats had made him a bona fide superstar.

"The crowd noise gave me a big buzz, it really did. I like a bit of volume. If I’m listening to the radio and a record comes on that I really enjoy, the first thing I do is turn it up, because good things sound better loud. That’s what the crowd atmosphere was like to me. Like a radio playing, the louder the better.”

Never mind radio waves. Fifty years ago, Manchester United’s no.7 George Best delivered shockwaves – with the dial turned full up. The date was Wednesday 9 March 1966, to be precise, when in front of 75,000 Benfica fans expecting the ritual Stadium of Light slaughter, Best instead put the Portuguese giants to the sword with a virtuoso display of pure brilliance.

In the process, having almost walked out on United before unpacking his bags on arrival for a two-week trial one July morning five years earlier, the frail, if precociously gifted, schoolboy from Belfast’s Cregagh estate was now the talk of front and back pages at breakfast tables from Longsight to Lisbon. And, blessed as the faithful have been with outstanding personal displays, Best’s remains arguably the graduation to greatness in the Reds’ richly storied history.

One of the iconic images surrounding victory in Lisbon was the sombrero sported by Best on his return to England, a moment that summed up his growing sense of self-awareness. “Every bikini on the beach wanted my autograph, some wanted a snip of my hair – the men were just as bad. I was having my first taste of adulation and I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy it,” he recalled.

As the Reds disembarked from the plane at Ringway, Best popped the hat on, launching a thousand
photographs and the famous ‘El Beatle’ headlines. As David Meek, football correspondent of the Manchester Evening News between 1958 and 1995, recalled on Best’s death, this was no fluke, but “a sixth sense telling him that it could be a useful prop when looking for publicity to mark the opening of his boutique in Sale the following week".

While two years later Best was to experience the highest of all footballing highs in the European Cup final at Wembley, once again facing Eusebio and the mighty Benfica, that night in Lisbon, 50 years ago, was just about as good as it got.

“That night we knocked it about as well as any of the great sides I’ve ever seen,” he said in the 1998 book Bestie. “That night, at least, we were as good as the Real Madrid of the Fifties, the Spurs Double team – anyone you care to mention.”

High in the stratosphere above the Stadium of Light, half a century on, let’s hope he’s looking down, Irish eyes shining as keenly as the night he tripped the light fantastic. Dancing to his own tune, with the volume turned fully up...
 
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Annahnomoss

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Stanley Matthews


We can, enjoyably, argue about almost anything in football – players, coaches, referees, goals, results. It is what gives the game its universality. A handful of generalisations are commonly agreed: among them, that for half a century Brazil have been probably the most consistently watchable of national teams and, prior to that, Stanley Matthews was the world's best-known player.

These two strands of history are echoed at Wembley on Wednesday when, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the FA's foundation, England play Brazil. Their first encounter was in 1956, the occasion distinguished by Matthews, provocatively aged 41, having a creative hand in all England goals in a 4-2 victory.

If down the years Brazil – and players such as Ademir, Didi, Pele, Garrincha, Jairzinho, Socrates, Falcao, Romario, Bebeto, Juninho, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka – have captivated audiences across the globe, so too for 33 years did Matthews.

In my youth, before TV, when legends were established merely by the written word or passed by word of mouth, there was a story, probably apocryphal, of a crowd gathering in St Peter's Square in the late 30s to see a visiting England team appearing in company with the Pope. An English spectator asks an Italian which one on the balcony is the Pope? "Not sure" was the reply, "but the one on the right is Stanley Matthews."

This week's friendly coincides with the 55th anniversary of Matthews having become the first recipient of the Ballon D'or award, just won for the fourth time running by Lionel Messi. The Argentinian's mesmeric brilliance is catalysed by performing with cup-dominant club and national teams. Such widely visible promotion among voters was nonexistent in the three phases of Matthews's fame, pre-war, wartime and postwar.

A career stretching from 1932 to 1965 – interrupted in its prime with Stoke, Blackpool and back at Stoke – only concluded when he was 50 and still leaving accomplished defenders gasping dumbly in the wake of his pace. Like Messi – or Pele, Alfredo Di Stefano or Diego Maradona – he could take the ball within inches of the opponent's toes: then, with a shimmy, leave them for dead. "It was like playing against a ghost," recalled Johnny Carey, a celebrated Eire fullback and the captain of Matt Busby's first great Manchester United team.

On that May afternoon in 1956, England's prospects were uncertain. Would the emerging Latin Americans – defeated World Cup finalists of 1950 by Uruguay, England having dissolved against USA – inflict a second home defeat on the founding fathers, following that by Hungary two and a half years earlier? Attacking extravagance was already Brazil's hallmark: now their fulcrum was Didi (Waldir Pereira), a mercurial link-man from Fluminense of Rio, who would mastermind their World Cup victories at Sweden '58 and Chile '62. Visiting Wembley was the last leg of a preparatory European tour.

"A few days earlier he'd lost to Italy," recalled Didi – nowadays frail in retirement – "and we wanted to put on a show." Part of that show, it was supposed, would be Nilton Santos, captain and one of the most formidable left-backs. He was to be a key figure in the 1958 final, subduing Sweden's tenacious winger Kurt Hamrin. How would the veteran Matthews fare?

Never mind having shared in the 1953 humiliation by Hungary, Matthews's remarkable career was conspicuous for intermittent highlights: the pre-war 6-3 slaughter of Germany in Berlin – "Matthews risks everything, can do everything" wrote Berlin's Fussball; his dribble past five Belgian defenders for a goal, during a 5-2 drubbing, which both teams paused to applaud; the imperishable last 20 minutes of Blackpool's 1953 Cup victory against Bolton.

So magnetic was his appeal, he was, unbelievably, adored by the Scots. The Hampden Park record of 137,000 was established with his presence, likewise that at Manchester City's Maine Road (80,000). Earning £1 per week as groundstaff boy when he made his Stoke reserves debut in 1932, he would today have put David Beckham in the financial shade. His name on the team-sheet add ed 10,000 to many First Division attendances. Returning aged 45 in 1960 to Stoke, struggling at the foot of the old Second Division, the attendance for his first match against Huddersfield leapt from 7,000 to 35,000.

Repeatedly selected/dropped by an amateurish, pre-Ramsey FA committee – only 37 appearances during England's first 87 post-war matches and partnered by 17 different inside forwards – Matthews returned by public demand against Brazil, alongside the debut of young Duncan Edwards. Also included were Manchester United's ill-fated Tommy Taylor and Roger Byrne.

Public faith in Matthews was as enduring as his own fitness. In successive seasons, 1954 and 1955, he had destroyed at Wembley two outstanding fullbacks: Werner Kohlmeyer, of West Germany, recent World Cup winners, and, in a 7-2 rout, Scotland's experienced Harry Haddock. To such a degree was Kohlmeyer bamboozled that the 100,000 crowd regularly laughed out loud: he never played again. "Once he had gone past you," Haddock recalled "there and then not there, it was as though he'd forgotten about you. It was a devastating yet treasured personal experience."

It was to be an experience for Nilton Santos (nutmegged above left). Though Brazil exhibited their flamboyance, Matthews shredded his opponent's reputation: enticing him to within kneecap range like a matador, leaving him in a heap, having lunged off-balance for a vanished ball.

The maestro's touch led to each of England's goals, Brazil having drawn level soon after half-time after going two down early in the game. As Didi reflected: "The play of Matthews was an exhibition of his genius – an extraordinary player in the same class as Garrincha. I never thought a player that age could do what he did."
 

Bogdannn

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I'll do the same as Joga and split them into categories.

This is since the 90ish(included Baresi and Matthaus who overlap a bit)

LB: Maldini 93-95 - hard to look past him, especially during those 3 seasons. Top class defender who can play both centrally and on the left.
CB: Baresi 89-91 - the best central defender I've ever seen. Some notable performances of course the WC 94 against Romario and in 1990 against Holland of Gullit, Van Basten etc.
CB: Nesta 00-02 - pure defender, very subtle, elegant hard to look past him, despite some other stoppers from the 90's like Kohler, Desailly, etc...
RB: Zanetti 97-99 - personal preference, but Cafu of course has a serious claim for that spot.

DM: Redondo 97-99 - still remember that performance against us in CL.
CM(Playmaker): Xavi 08-10(11) - notch above anyone else. Bossed the midfield for probably one of the best club and national sides of all time.
B2B: Matthaus 89-91 - again notch above some of the rest memorable players since the 90's(Keane, Vieira, Davids, etc..)

LW: Ronaldinho 04-06
- unplayable on his day. The most entertaining player I've ever seen. He changed Barca and laid the foundations for its domination couple of years later. Highlights - the games against Milan and Chelsea.
CF: Fenomeno 96-98- best player I've seen live - that season with Barca was incredible and unstoppable.
RW: Messi 11-13 - I think many will cover him in their descriptions.
This is a great list you've chosen and it seems we share the same favorite player.

For me, nobody tops Ronaldo 96-98.
Second place goes to Ronaldinho 04-06.
Cruyff 71-73 catches the podium in 3rd place

Messi is only 4th on my list. He might have scored more goals at his peak, but he did it while playing more matches compared to Ronaldo, against weaker defenses and with a team 10 times as good.
 

Dolf

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Arjen Robben somewhere between 2010 and 2015.
 

Shaun Oldman

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Marco Van Basten, the focal point of the greatest club side of all time.

1988-89

The header away at Real was the best I've ever seen.
 

Bogdannn

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Messi 11-12. You really could pick 5 different Messi seasons but, I think that one was the most dominant. And really anyone who does not pick Messi first is lying to themselves.
I don't. He ain't even in my top 3. But I don't look at the stats at all, for me one's peak is just about how good he could play at his best.
 

The holy trinity 68

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I don't. He ain't even in my top 3. But I don't look at the stats at all, for me one's peak is just about how good he could play at his best.
He scored 91 goals in a calendar year with 24 assists. Yet he wasn't just about stats, his all round attacking game was unbelievable. He also won the following in that year; La Liga, CL, Copa Del Rey, Spanish Supercup, European Supercup, Club World Cup.
 
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Bogdannn

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He scored 91 goals in a calendar year with 24 assists. Yet he wasn't just about stats, his all round attacking game was unbelievable. He also won the following in that year; La Liga, CL, Copa Del Rey, Spanish Supercup, European Supercup, Club World Cup.
Perhaps my reasoning needed more explaining.
I don't care about how much someone scored/assisted in a season or on how much he won.
The way I compare them is by looking at their best version, and choosing which one would I have in my team more. As great as Messi was that season, he had behind him one of the best club teams ever assembled, if not "the best".
Now, if I were the manager of an average team like Norwich, I'd rather have a Ronaldo (Fenomeno), a Maradona or a Pele in my team, cause I know they could addapt a lot easier and have a huge impact. Messi always crumbles under pressure and plays great only when he's surrounded by world class players.
 

The holy trinity 68

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This is a great list you've chosen and it seems we share the same favorite player.

For me, nobody tops Ronaldo 96-98.
Second place goes to Ronaldinho 04-06.
Cruyff 71-73 catches the podium in 3rd place

Messi is only 4th on my list. He might have scored more goals at his peak, but he did it while playing more matches compared to Ronaldo, against weaker defenses and with a team 10 times as good.
He didn't even win the league in them years,
Perhaps my reasoning needed more explaining.
I don't care about how much someone scored/assisted in a season or on how much he won.
The way I compare them is by looking at their best version, and choosing which one would I have in my team more. As great as Messi was that season, he had behind him one of the best club teams ever assembled, if not "the best".
Now, if I were the manager of an average team like Norwich, I'd rather have a Ronaldo (Fenomeno), a Maradona or a Pele in my team, cause I know they could addapt a lot easier and have a huge impact. Messi always crumbles under pressure and plays great only when he's surrounded by world class players.
Crumbles under pressure? He has scored or assisted in more finals than most players and has been the best player of the world class players he played with for 12 years in a row.

R9 from 96-98 didn't even win a league title and lost 3-0 in the World Cup final. I guess the pressure got to him in that game and didn't perform while being surrounded by world class players.

Imagine saying Messi only performs with world class players when you are a Cristiano Ronaldo fanatic. It is ironic because Cristiano has played for Man United, Real Madrid and Juventus surrounded by world class players.
 

Bogdannn

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He didn't even win the league in them years
In 96-97 he lost the title by a mere 2 points and was the best player in La Liga, despite this being his first season with Barcelona.
He then transferred and was again the best player, this time in Serie A. And despite finishing second for a second time, given that Juventus cheated with the refs, as it was proven later on, Inter actually deserved that win. And bare in mind that Inter team was a joke compared to modern day superclubs.

Crumbles under pressure? He has scored or assisted in more finals than most players and has been the best player of the world class players he played with for 12 years in a row.
It's easy to play well when your team does well and you are in front, but when push comes to shove, he's nowhere to be found.
Do I need to remind you of all the finals he has lost with Argentina where he didn't do anything ? His penalty miss in a Copa America final !!!
He has always crumbled with Argentina. He “retired” after the 2016 Copa America tournament because Argentina once again came up short in a final and he couldn’t handle the aftermath.
Or how about the times where Barcelona needed him and he didn't do anything ? Like vs Inter in 2010, vs Chelsea in 2012 (where he again missed a penalty), vs Bayern in 2013, vs Roma in 2018, vs Liverpool in 2019, vs Bayern in 2020 etc. Countless big matches where his team needed him to shine and he just couldn't do it.
Like it or not, he's mentally weak.

R9 from 96-98 didn't even win a league title and lost 3-0 in the World Cup final. I guess the pressure got to him in that game and didn't perform while being surrounded by world class players.
I already covered the first part. As for the second part of your statement, do you even know what happened back then ?!?
It had nothing at all to do with pressure, he wasn't fit to play. He had a convulsion before the final and was taken to the hospital. He should have never been allowed to enter the field, but he insisted, plus there was huge pressure from Nike for him to be on the field.

Imagine saying Messi only performs with world class players when you are a Cristiano Ronaldo fanatic. It is ironic because Cristiano has played for Man United, Real Madrid and Juventus surrounded by world class players.
Cristiano Ronaldo fanatic ?!?
You must be referring to Cal or Red Ronaldo. I am anything but a Cristiano Ronaldo fanatic. And I feel the same way about him as I feel about Messi, the difference being that CR7 can adapt a lot easier to a new system and team, Messi can't. Also, CR7 is mentally stronger.
 

VanKenny

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Do I need to remind you of all the finals he has lost with Argentina where he didn't do anything ? His penalty miss in a Copa America final !!!
He has always crumbled with Argentina. He “retired” after the 2016 Copa America tournament because Argentina once again came up short in a final and he couldn’t handle the aftermath.
Or how about the times where Barcelona needed him and he didn't do anything ? Like vs Inter in 2010, vs Chelsea in 2012 (where he again missed a penalty), vs Bayern in 2013, vs Roma in 2018, vs Liverpool in 2019, vs Bayern in 2020 etc. Countless big matches where his team needed him to shine and he just couldn't do it.
Like it or not, he's mentally weak.
Thats a ridiculous take. Did Maradona win every single game and tournament he played, or did R9/Pele?They lost a bunch too, and disappeared in many important matches too. If they didnt, they would have won all their trophies they played for. You make it seem like these players were performing week in week out for 15 years straight dominating every big game, and that is simply far from the truth.


Messi has to be the only player in history that people can remember with detail the games where he didnt show up or wasnt that good. That alone speaks of his greatness, the standards he's held to. Also probably the only player in history that can have a 10/10 MOTM performance and still have people claiming "he disappeared", like you just did.
 
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MalcolmTucker

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Bogdann has a weird thing about Messi - so far I've heard him say:

1) Messi is incapable of doing an elastico

2) Claimed Messi would be too scared to dribble if he played in the 60s

3) Messi cheated by getting HGH treatment as a child as it gave him the special power of having size 9 feet

4) Reckons he used to be a professional footballer :lol:
 
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JB08

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What the hell has gone on here? :lol:

I’m starting to think @Hectic is on to something about the newbs.
 

Bogdannn

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Bogdann has a weird thing about Messi - so far I've heard him say:

1) Messi is incapable of doing an elastico

2) Claimed Messi would be too scared to dribble if he played in the 60s

3) Messi cheated by getting HGH treatment as a child as it gave him the special power of having size 9 feet

4) Reckons he used to be a professional footballer :lol:
Now you are just twisting and mocking my words in order to suit your fanboy agenda
All you Messi fanboys can't handle it when someone doesn't agree with you about him.
 

MalcolmTucker

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Now you are just twisting and mocking my words in order to suit your fanboy agenda
All you Messi fanboys can't handle it when someone doesn't agree with you about him.
Nah these are actually things you have said - perhaps you were drunk when you wrote them;

1) Messi is incapable of doing an elastico

And I said that for me the main criteria for judging talent is ball ability, hence why I see R10 as being more talented. I just gave the elastico as an example of a ball skill that Messi can't do.
Maradona might not have done an elastico, but he was doing done countless other tricks (like rabonas, nutmegs, roulettes etc). Show me Messi doing rabonas on a consistent basis.

2) Claimed Messi would be too scared to dribble if he played in the 60s

Pele, Garrincha and Best grew up with that sort of bad treatment, they were used to it and their bodies adapted to the constant fouling. Messi is not used to it and would start panicking the moment they hit him hard to the point that he'd be afraid to even attempt to dribble.

3) Messi cheated by getting HGH treatment as a child as it gave him the special power of having size 9 feet

You should have done some research of the way HGH affects the body. One of the effects is increased limbs, in Messi's case show size. He wears size 10, which is huge for someone so small as him. That extra shoe size coupled with his small stature and thus low center of gravity helps him be way more stable of his feet when he's dribbling, that's why I said it is cheating.

4) Reckons he used to be a professional footballer

I was a pro footballer, just not in a top league like Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga etc.
 

Bogdannn

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Nah these are actually things you have said - perhaps you were drunk when you wrote them;

1) Messi is incapable of doing an elastico






2) Claimed Messi would be too scared to dribble if he played in the 60s




3) Messi cheated by getting HGH treatment as a child as it gave him the special power of having size 9 feet




4) Reckons he used to be a professional footballer
I wrote them in a particular context, you bringing them up in a different context means you are twisting them.
 

MalcolmTucker

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I wrote them in a particular context, you bringing them up in a different context means you are twisting them.
I'm literally quoting the laughable things you've claimed verbatim. There is no context that can make them any less daft but you're welcome to provide 'context'. I could do with another laugh.