Friday, June 22, 2018


Isn't it a privilege to live in an era when there are two clearly, obviously, unequivocally, brilliant-to-the-point-of-genius footballers plying their trade? - and isn't it astonishing that they've done so relentlessly for so many seasons? - and isn't it wonderful that it's pretty much impossible to differentiate which is the greater player, such that any argument over this quickly becomes manifestly pointless?

The odd thing is that for so many vocal fans out there the answer to the above seems to be in the negative. Reading the Commentariat dealing with Argentina's defeat last night is a powerful lesson in the astonishing ability of the human mind to fail to recognise the obvious. It seems that it was all down to Messi, regardless of the fact that his team were uniformly clueless and, what's hardly been recognised at all, that Croatia are one hell of a side, both on paper and on the field.

But I've emerged a little wiser after the day's reading. I've been a bit puzzled as to why I've kept coming across the acronym GOAT of late in connection with the beautiful game, especially in contexts in which the names of Ronaldo and Messi have been the focus. I'm guessing it stands for Greatest Of All Time, debate over which in any sport is utterly pointless if conducted in any spirit of acrimony. Since almost every discussion of the two players I've read has been characterised by painful (and painfully stupid) acrimony the pointlessness of all this is especially intense.

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