Rooney or Messi? Who would you want in your side?

by Claire Tully

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

It’s a well know fact that the world is divided into two types of people – those who eat McDonalds and those who prefer Burger King.

I myself fall into what I consider to be the better of the two groups. I’m a “McDonald’s only” girl of course.

My friends (Team Burger King) would argue this is more because I am a stubborn cow and less to do with any sort of gastronomical experience I may have had with a Big Mac.

They know nothing.

The only other argument capable of raising tempers as fast and furiously at 4am outside the chippy is the issue of the number 10 shirt.

Once worn by footballs greatest ever players Maradonna and Pele, today it’s the number shared by Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi, each a perfect ten in their own right.

But there is one question being asked, who really is the best?

With an eye watering 23 goals in his last 21 games and 72 goals in 91 games overall this season the numbers on Messi’s sparkling record would overwhelm most world class players.

On the pitch the 22 year-old Argentinean seems to maze between players, skipping from challenge to challenge as though the ball is somehow velcroed to his left foot.

He reminds me of that kid in school you always silently hated for being so good at football and somehow managing to get past everyone and bang it in the back of the net time and time again.

You see Messi isn’t just a forward. He doesn’t just conveniently fit a box description of what a player who scores goals should be. When you try to define him on his vision, performance and awareness he’s everywhere and everything all at that point in the career of a footballer when ability, vigour and confidence align to redefine the highest level of talent.

Anyone who saw his timeless performance in a 4-2 win against Zaragoza will realise the one man show performances he is capable of. The first player ever in the history of Barca to score hat tricks consecutively in La Liga, his record is nothing short of spectacular.

And yes I’ve heard the arguments for Rooney – he’s a different sort of player, different styles and different strengths. What he perhaps lacks in delicate manoeuvring he makes up for in sheer determination, physical strength and bravery. He’s ‘better for the team’.

But I’m not a coach or a manager and I’m not picking a team – I’m simply admiring an astonishing set of football skills that are refreshing to my generation.

A few weeks ago you might even have been justified saying Rooney had the greatest chance of any other player to dethrone Messi.

The Barcelona star may edge it on talent but there is the argument that Rooney contributes more to the game.

And despite his dazzling performances at club level, there is still a challenge for Messi to duplicate this play on the international stage.  In his short career for Argentina, he has only scored 13 goals in 43 games for his country.

Rooney on the other hand has suited up 48 times for club and country and found the back of the net 19 times.

The fact that Messi has achieved so much by 22, especially in light of past injury, is incredible and I have no doubt he will continue to outperform and bring football to a level beyond what we have so far seen.

Rooney may have the brute force of the beast, but talent like Messi is what makes it the beautiful game.

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  • mickeymarbles

    I believe we will be talking about Messi in the same breath as Pele & Maradona in 20 years time, I think he will be that good.

  • Keith

    I have to put my hatred for all things Utd at the door to admit my admiration for The Roon, but he is something to behold alright. If he continues in his current vein, I am sure he will go down in the annals of history as the greatest English player to ever lace up his boots and cross that white line onto the field of play, but he will forever be in the second division when it comes to his place in the pantheon of the greats.

    However, a place alongside the likes of Bergkamp, Baggio, Romario, Best, Platini, Muller, Puskas and the likes is not to be sniffed at.

    However, a place alongside the footballing Gods is Messi’s for the taking. In the fullness of time, the little Argentinian will be mentioned in the same breathe as Maradona, Pele and Cruyff, mark my words.

  • hugh

    Messi and torres in ultimate dream tream

  • Darren

    the ultimate dream team, Rooney and Messi in the same team! now that would be class

  • chef

    another barnstormer from the tulls
    well thought out..interesting
    and a nice ebb and flow to the whole article
    shes definitly enjoying dong this
    and it shows in what shes writing….
    the two lads are both magic
    the only knock i have on the roon
    is he does pick up these fuckin annoying injurys
    and everyone will hate me for sayin this
    but i sed to mesel its abig year for the lad
    hes gonna end up carrying two teams maybe
    so lets hope he doesnt get injured…..
    so ye can all blame me for cursing it……..
    ankles r really dodgy and lets hope when he does get back hes in the same rich form
    cos the world cup will be both there stages for sure

    on another note……how can someone who looks as sublime as miss tully
    even enter the fuckin doors of mcdonalds or fuckin burger king
    hey im a snobby fuckin prima donna chef
    what would u expect me to say?????????????????????

  • palo

    Rooney and Messi would not work in the same side, they are both the main stars and everything gets played through them. Look how much better Ronney is without Ronaldo hogging all the limelight

    To prove Messi really is the best player in the world he has to have a great world cup, i’m not sure Maradona knows what to do with him, either that or cant stand the fact he might turn out to a better player. I watched a lot of Argentina’s qualifying games and Messi was non exsistent.

  • Matt Quinn

    Palo…. What world cup did Cruyff win? How did George Best do in the world cup finals?

    I dont think the World Cup is the be all and end all of footballing greatness.

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