How Would Messi Rank if he was Playing in Euro 2020?
One of the greatest players that has ever lived, Lionel Messi has achieved everything at domestic level. With Barcelona, he has lifted the Champions League, La Liga and Copa Del Rey trophies while being acknowledged, via the Ballon D’Or, as the best player in the world on six separate occasions.
If there is one thing missing from his illustrious CV, it’s a major honour at international level. With Euro 2020 currently being played on another continent, it’s interesting to ask just how Messi would rank if he was eligible to take part.
No Slowing Down
Barcelona may have their collective issues as a squad but Lionel Messi is still returning incredible statistics at the age of 34. Across the 2020/21 domestic season, the Argentinian scored 30 goals in 35 La Liga matches and recorded 38 in 47 games overall.
That return marked an improvement on the attacker’s scoring ratio last season so it may well be that Messi can still get better with age. On the international stage, Argentina look poised to head through to the knockout phase of the 2021 Copa America. Lionel Messi scored his team’s first goal of the tournament and he followed that up with a brace in Argentina’s 4-1 demolition of Bolivia in game four.
It would be fitting for the player to end his career with a major medal for Argentina and maybe this could be his year.
European Teams in Contention
As Euro 2020 reached the knockout stage, Messi’s great rival Cristiano Ronaldo was defeated, along with his Portuguese side at the hands of Belgium. You can check out this website to see just who remains in contention with England, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark among those aiming for glory.
Spain are also through after a dramatic 5-3 extra time victory over Croatia. Lionel Messi has spent so much time in the Spanish set up that it’s easy to imagine him slotting into this side along with some of his Barcelona teammates. The question, however, is based on Argentina and their potential to succeed in the Euros.
For the majority of his career, Lionel Messi has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese rival may just provide an answer to this conundrum. Portugal are a side with talented individuals but it’s Ronaldo who has turned them into winners. He was a vital part of the side that won the Euros in 2016 and, while his team are out of this year’s competition, he may yet win the Golden Boot as leading scorer.
In 179 full internationals, Cristiano Ronaldo has found the net 109 times. In comparison, Lionel Messi’s double in the win over Bolivia took his total to 75 from 148. Ronaldo has the better ratio but those statistics underline the importance of both men to their respective international teams.
Both Ronaldo and Messi have set new national records in terms of appearances and most goals scored. Nobody can ever be a one-man team but these two players have a bigger impact on their respective nations than anyone else in the game.
Comparisons between those two players are inevitable but the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo drove his Portugal team to success in Euro 2016 gives us an answer to this question. Anything CR7 can do, Messi can match and it’s therefore plausible that Argentina could succeed in the European Championships.
As an individual, Lionel Messi could also rank highly in terms of Player of the Tournament and Leading Tournament Goal Scorer awards. Not surprisingly, Ronaldo made it into the team of the tournament for the European Championships in 2004, 2012 and 2016. That’s an accolade that Messi would surely reproduce if his Argentina side were able to play in the competition.
At the World Cup in Brazil back in 2014, Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. This was despite the fact that his Argentina team lost out in the final to eventual champions Germany. At the Euros, with some of the world’s best teams taken out of the equation, he would surely shine even brighter.
It is, of course, inconceivable that the rules will change to allow South American teams into European international competition. We may have seen Australia enter the Eurovision Song Contest but football’s European Championship is a far more serious affair and it’s unlikely to follow suit. Each organisation within FIFA also has its own major tournament and the Argentinians need to focus on the Copa America.
Speaking hypothetically, if Argentina were to play in Europe’s biggest international tournament, they would surely stand a good chance of winning the trophy. The man driving them on is Lionel Messi. We’ve seen that telling comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo but, more importantly, he is the key to every successful Argentinian team of the last few years.
A World Cup winners medal would offer a fitting end to a brilliant career but, at the Euros, Lionel Messi would surely rank as the best player among his European counterparts.
What do you think? Have your say…