The debate over who is the greatest footballer of all time is a difficult one. Actually, the debate over who is the greatest footballer in the world right now is a difficult one, so the entire history is almost impossible. Yet Lionel Messi has one record that is so incredible it may just make him the greatest of all time and be the reason why many have changed his nickname from the flea to the GOAT. 

It is difficult to compare Ronaldo and Messi even though they have played in the same league for many years and are both such strong goalscorers. One is a selfish footballer who wants to score everything and has tuned his skills and his body to be the perfect goal-scoring machine. The other is a footballing artist. His mind is superior to everyone else on the field. He sees passes that others can’t and has the ability to create incredible moments in any game. 

Both appear to be the greatest when you look at their list of accolades. There is so much to judge a footballer on whether it is the number of trophies, number of goals, number of wins, number of assists, performance for the club, performance for the country, consistency over time, peak years, individual awards and more. When you look at each player they both have records on their side. Yet Messi currently holds one record that Ronaldo is certainly jealous of, most goals in a calendar year.

In 2012 on December 9th, Messi surpassed Gerd Muller’s record of most goals in a year. Muller had scored 85 goals and this incredible achievement had gone unbroken for 40 years. In 2012 Messi broke it with a few weeks to spare. He would go on to score 91 goals, smashing the record and leaving a few fans wondering why he could not have tried a little harder and got 100.

The record was all but sewn up as Messi was approaching December but in the game prior to breaking the record Messi was subbed off with an injury. Many feared the accolade he clearly deserved would not be possible. However, Messi was seen in the gym training the very next day. 

Messi and Ronaldo have one thing in common. Their drive and dedication to being the greatest. It is likely that if one didn’t exist the other would not have pushed their game so hard to be the best. Having two of the greatest players alive and competing at the same time is a gift that every football fan should be grateful for, even if you fail to see that Messi is clearly the best.