Scholes: Messi the greatest I ever shared a pitch with

Published 06/06/2015, 10:42 AM EDT

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes acclaims Lionel Messi as the best player he has ever played with or against. Writing in his latest column for the British national morning newspaper ‘The Independent’ , Scholes wrote :


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I think about the great players with whom I have shared a pitch: Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Pirlo, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo – and the greatest of them all is Messi. I watched him at the Mestalla against Valencia in November and he looked less than interested to me. Since then he has been sensational. His goalscoring record, in terms of goals to games, is a phenomenon.

But it is more than the goals, it is the games in which he scores them – the big games against the big teams, and he does it season in, season out. He does not go missing even when, as with the World Cup finals, he looked tired or is carrying an injury. There are lots of good footballers who can come up with the goods every now and then. Messi does it every week, under a weight of expectation greater than any other player in the game.

Playing against Messi, as I’ve said before, is as tough a test of your concentration as any in football. At any moment he can take the mickey out of you. Physically it is demanding, but mentally even more so. You cannot switch off. The second you allow your mind to wander … he is off, gone with the ball at his feet and flitting towards goals while your options are being reduced by the millisecond.”

Back in February also, in another one of his columns for ‘The Independent’, Scholes wrote that he isn’t ashamed to admit that in the games against Barcelona he spent a lot of time just hoping Messi would take up positions as far away from him as possible.

The fact that Scholes came up against Messi only twice while he spent 6 seasons with Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford suggests that the diminutive Argentine must have left a huge impression on him. His latest comments simply add to the heap of praise the Barcelona wizard has received from the game’s greatest legends in his glorious career.



Shivarshi Bajpai

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