Initiating Discussion: “Best Player?”

Whew, got the ointment on just in time. A little flare-up today on Twitter, courtesy of mainstream media.

I contend Maicon...

Nearly every piece I have read this week labels Lionel Messi the undisputed “best player” in

Main stream media exalt Messi...

the world. While I believe Messi to be hands-down the best attacker and offensive player, per my storyline in the article before this–if I had to vote–I would pick Maicon as the best player pound-for-pound in the world right now.

That’s just my opinion.

Here is some other commentary that occurred on Twitter to initiate the discussion of….

“Who’s the best player on the globe heading into the World Cup?”



@shinguardian Take Maicon off Inter and plug in Alves I don’t think they would be any worse. Take Messi off Barcelona and no liga this year.

•  rusry723

@shinguardian I absolutely agree that he’s (Maicon) up there. But come on man. Messi is without a doubt the best in the world.


@shinguardian Messi and Maicon being equally important to their team. Maicon was more important to Inter that Messi is to Barca.


19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/10 at 10:44 AM

    I don’t usually get into these discussions because they are so subjective, but it’s hard to argue against Messi being the “best” in the world. Maicon is a stud, no question. Personally, after his performance in the 2008 Euros and this year for Inter, I think we might come away from the Cup saying that Sneijder is in this conversation.


  2. Posted by Sam on 2010/06/10 at 10:51 AM

    My mind says Lisandro Lopez, but my heart says Brian McBride.


  3. Posted by John on 2010/06/10 at 10:52 AM

    Messi is as Xavi does……


  4. Posted by B-Mac on 2010/06/10 at 11:10 AM

    With this and all other rankings, there are tiers for me. I place four men in the top tier of footballers right now: Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, and Xavi. Leading the second tier are Robben, Maicon, Lucio (who really should be on this list), Kaka, and Drogba.


  5. I have to go with Xavi. I think central midfield is the hardest position to play and he is clearly the best CM in the world. I don’t think he gets a lot of press because he doesn’t score a lot of goals.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/10 at 11:22 AM

      I think Sneijder is up there with Xavi in my book.

      Here’s the thing, it’s hard to evaluate players on the top teams because they play with the best.

      As for Messi, it’s hard to say he’s the best as he didn’t take Barca to the top this year. In two games against a team that was designed to shut him down, that’s exactly what they did.


      • The only time that Barca threatened Inter were the 30 minutes after Messi absolutely clocked Maicon, knocking him out of the game. Really it was the only reason they had the chance to crawl back into the tie.

        The beast is a right back and right mid all in one – it’s literally like having an extra player on the pitch. Both Xavi and Messi do not have that impact. Messi is slightly over-rated, taking the same diagonal route to the box every time. Shut it down and he tends to run out of ideas and disappear from the match.

        Take away Iniesta, Messi and Xavi aren’t as good. Take Away Messi, Xavi and Iniesta aren’t as good. Take away Xavi, Iniesta and Messi aren’t as good. With Barca it’s really the combination of all those three truly great players. Stick any one of them on an otherwise average team and they’ll make it a little better, put them together and you’re Barca.

        Stick Maicon on an average team and suddenly they’re a contender. If he was a striker, people would talk about be talking him like he was Messi and Drogba combined.

        Maicon would certainly be the first pick for my fantasy team.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/10 at 12:41 PM

          It’s always very hard to answer this question, as the game is a team game and not played in isolation. A great example of Tuesday’s logic is Messi’s patchy form with Argentina. But on the other side of the coin, if you take away Zanetti / Cambiasso (Inter) or Silva (Brazil) and Maicon isn’t as good. And I used to think Cafu was the man, I think Maicon might have raised the stakes as a modern RB.

          And I disagree with the “take Maicon off Inter and plug in Alves I don’t think they would be any worse” statement. Alves is probably interchangable offensively, but his defensive game cannot be compared IMO.


    • Posted by ClausV on 2010/06/10 at 11:27 AM

      Xavi is NOT the best CM in the world. He has no defensive responsibillties – and if you can’t take care of that part of the game, you’re just another number 10. I don’t know who is the best, though. He would have to be in the Gerrard mold to qualify for best CM in my book.


  6. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/10 at 11:25 AM

    With Iniesta, Barca broke down all teams’ bunker attempts and won the CL.

    Without Iniesta, Barca couldn’t beat Inter.


  7. I think Messi needs to prove he’s the best on the world stage to earn that title, something he hasn’t done (despite Bill Simmons’ claims).


  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/10 at 1:07 PM

    I just looked at the list again. Cannot believe their is no Julio Cesar. If you’re talking about a player’s importance or worth to a team, personally I would look no further.


  9. Posted by king999 on 2010/06/10 at 1:38 PM

    I guess this list is drawn out based on recent achievements, like the Champs league. I picked Ronaldo from that list (surprisingly a less popular choice looking at the numbers) above Messi as I think he is the more complete player. Scores with both his feet and his head, freekicks, penalties, has termendous pace. He’s had a relatively quite season with Real but probably one of the only who has not come in for criticism there. Had 2 fabulous seasons with Man Utd and should enjoy working with fellow countryman Mourinho.

    One can argue a case for David Villa to be on that list too. Top top player. He should do well next year with Barca.


  10. Posted by dude on 2010/06/10 at 7:12 PM

    I think Iniesta is the most complete complete offensive player in the world. He has unbelievable skill (with both feet) can score from distance, dribble it in, can cut a through ball like a master, can play just about every position but defensive midfield and defender. The only thing that is missing is for him to be healthy.

    Especially considering he is the only reason Barca made it past Chelsea last season, and might well have foiled Mourinho’s plans had he been on the pitch.


  11. Posted by Dave on 2010/06/10 at 8:28 PM

    It’s very hard to compare players because their teams also factor in (across eras it’s even harder because each generation builds on the previous one). Also, many folks (I’m one of them) will only look at goal scoring or being a central midfield playmaker, leaving defenders and keepers out of the equation.
    So my question, who are the best defenders, and, in view of the eternal US problem, who are the best left backs? Especially the ones who actually defend.


  12. Posted by Reg on 2010/06/10 at 10:59 PM

    Best left back at the moment: Evra or Ashley Cole
    Best centre back hmm I’d go with Pique. Ball playing defender at it’s best.

    In response to the comment that Messi always does the same, cut that line and he’s no problem – well, he scored what, 47 ? goals after all and made 14 assists. It requires an very defensive approach to handle him as he can’t be left 1v1. But yes I agree that Iniesta is of the same importance to Barca as Xavi and Messi and he really knows how to open up those defenses.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/10 at 11:07 PM

      I’d have to go with Ashley Cole over Patrice Evra right now. I wrote in one our past columns that I though Evra looked disinterested this year. He’s still #2, but Cole was more of a factor going forward as well.


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