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Is Barcelona’s Lionel Messi The Greatest Footballer of All Time?

by Paddy Power Admin | March 8, 2012

Lionel Messi had never scored five goals in a professional game until last night. Now there is a growing chorus that he has replaced Pele and Maradona as the greatest footballer of all time. No one had ever scored five times in a Champions League match. Poor Fernando Torres has managed just five goals in his 50-game Chelsea career.

Messi helped Barcelona crush Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 on Wednesday night to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 10-2 aggregate win. (See the above video)

“Without Messi, Barca is the best team,’’ Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt said. “And with him, they are in another galaxy.’’ Barca coach Pep Guardiola added: “We’ll never see a player like him again. He is one of a kind.’’

Messi has 48 goals for Barcelona this season, including 12 in the Champions League. He increased his Champions League career total to 49, tying Alfredo Di Stefano for fourth on the European Cup/Champions League career list. “Messi is a joke. For me the best ever,’’ Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney wrote on Twitter.

Messi (24) has 228 goals for Barcelona and is seven from matching Cesar Rodriguez for the club’s career scoring record. Messi has seven hat tricks this season.

The little Argentinian is putting heat on countryman Maradona and Brazil legend Pele in the debate about who’s the all-time greatest footballer. Maradona or Pele never played in a multi-phase Champions League, but both were arguably greater international footballers. Zinedine Zidane, Cruyff, and George Best are the othe names which crop up repeatedly. Have your say in our Over The Line poll.

Some Maradona magic…

… a reminder of Pele

… is ZZ top?

… how about Heskey?

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