Former Manager Says 'Lionel Messi Is Not Among All-Time Greats'

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates on the pitch. On Friday, his former manager, Carlos Bilardo, said he did not beleive Messi was among the all-time greats. Retuters

He's a five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner but according to his former manager, he is NOT one of the best players in soccer history.

Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest soccer player in the game today, his very name strikes fear in opposing defenders, and arguments over whether he's better than Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo have led to violent altercations, including murder.

Yet on Friday, his former boss, Carlos Bilardo, declared that Messi is not one of the best players in the history of soccer.

Bilardo is the current General Manager of the Argentina national team and coached Messi during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Two months ago, Bilardo said that Messi was not the best player to ever play the game, on Friday, he took his comments a step further by saying he isn't even among the all-time greats.

"Alfredo Di Stefano was a superman. He could begin a play in his goal and finish it in the other. Then came Pele and Diego Maradona," Bilardo told Ole. "Now it's Messi, but they are different eras. I put him among the best, but not in history, just of this moment."

Bilardo's comments are surprising considering at just 28 years of age, Messi is already considered by some to be the best player the game has ever seen. The FC Barcelona striker won his fifth Ballon d'Or in January, and led his team to the Treble championship (Spanish Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey).

On a national level, Messi led Argentina both to the 2014 World Cup Final and the 2015 Copa America final (they lost both games). His accomplishments are outstanding and he only can go up from here, but Bilardo belives otherwise.

"He's reached his ceiling," he said. "He can't win more than he has."

In the interview, Bilardo also took credit for Messi's success since moving from the No. 9 to the No. 10 position.

"I said to his father, 'get him away from there and put him in the middle, where all the best play.' We did that for the national team and then Barcelona did the same."

What do you think?
Michael Duarte

Michael J. Duarte is a Los Angeles based writer. Born and raised in the City of Angels, Michael did his undergraduate work at the University of California Santa Barbara and a graduate program at the University of Southern California. Michael was awarded the Paul Lazarus Screenwriting Scholarship Award in 2004 and the Corwin Writing Award for his feature screenplay, "Chasing 4:00" in 2005. In addition to Sports writing, Michael is an avid marathon runner and fan of the Magic Bullet blender.