Here is a comparison of two modern great soccer players: Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane. Don’t forget to cast your vote for the one who you think is the greatest player since Maradona.

 

Lionel Messi Zinedine Zidane

Goal Scoring Ability

Messi likes to continually attack the opposition and his goal scoring rapacity shows no satiety. In club appearances Messi has scored 419 goals in 511 games; while playing for Argentina he has scored 45 goals in 97 appearances till May 2015.
Although Zidane has scored 128 goals in 681 appearances for his club and 31 goals in 108 appearances for France, he is not as prolific scorer as Messi.

Ball Control and Controlling a Match

Messi keeps control of the ball while dribbling with speed and is known to change direction quickly. He possesses the best ball control according to Maradona.Lionel Messi has shown ability of controlling matches against club oppositions but he is yet to fully dominate a match against a top class opposition like Brazil at the greatest stage of all, the World Cup. It is said that no one can match Zidane when it comes to controlling or receiving the ball. In fact his control was so good that, whether he played for a club or for France, all his teammates looked to pass the ball to him.Zidane often showed how he could control a match even at the highest level, most noticeably in the quarter final against Brazil in the 2006 World Cup.

Records and Achievements

At age 25, Messi became the youngest player to score 200 La Liga goals. Messi set the European record for most goals scored in a season during the 2011–12 season, with 73 goals. In the same season, he set the current goalscoring record in a single La Liga season, scoring 50 goals. Messi also scored in 19 consecutive La Liga games, becoming the first footballer in history to net in consecutive matches against every team in the league. In March 2012, Messi made Champions League history by becoming the first player to score five goals in one match. In November 2014, Messi became the all time top scorer in La Liga and the all time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League. At the 2014 World Cup, he led Argentina to the final winning four consecutive Man of the Match awards in the process.
Zidane won FIFA World Cup 1998 and EURO 2000 with France. He also led France to the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Zizou scored twice in the final of 1998 World Cup and was crucial in making France the world champions. When he scored in the final of 2006 World Cup, he became only the fourth player in the history of football to score in two different World Cup finals. Also with three World Cup final goals he ties with Vava, Pele and Geoff Hurst for scoring maximum goals in World Cup finals. 

Notable Awards and Honors

  • FIFA Ballon d’Or (3): 2010, 2011, 2012. Created in 2010
  • Ballon d’Or (1): 2009. Ceased to exist in 2009
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (1): 2009. Ceased to exist in 2009
  • UEFA Champions League Top Goalscorer (4): 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match (1): 2011.
  • Copa América Young Player of the Tournament (1): 2007.
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball 2014
  • Included in the greatest 11 of all time by the World Soccer Magazine
  • UEFA Best European Player of the Past 50 Years – 2004
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball – 2006
  • FIFA World Player of the Year – 1998, 2000, 2003
  • Ballon D’or – 1998
  • La Liga Best player of the past 40 Years – 2010
  • UEFA Euro Player of the Tournament – 2000
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team – 1998, 2006
  • FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match – 1998
  • UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match – 2002
  • Included in the greatest 11 of all time by the World Soccer Magazine

What Players and Coaches Say

Maradona himself declared Messi as his successor. Maradona has said of Messi: “The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control.” Among his peers Cristiano Ronaldo has said, “We are different in every aspect. But right now, he is the best.” His former FC Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, once stated: “Messi is the only player that runs faster with the ball than he does without it.” Pele called Zidane “the magician in the game” while Marcello Lippi called him the greatest in the last 20 years. At the 1998 World Cup, Cesare Maldini, the manager of the Italian team, said: “I would give up five players to have Zizou in my squad.” Among his peers, David Beckham has described Zidane as “the greatest of all time” and Roberto Carlos called Zizou ‘the best player he has ever seen’.

 

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