4 Champions Leagues, 10 La Liga titles, 6 Copa del Reys, 7 Supercopa de Espana’s, 3 UEFA Super Cups, and 3 Club World Cups. Add that to 6 Ballon d’Or’s, a World Cup Golden Ball, 6 European Golden Shoe’s, and a heap of other awards, Lionel Messi has been far from starved of accolades. However the magicians time at Barcelona appears to be up.
He’s been linked with plenty of big clubs; Man City, PSG, Inter, Juventus etc. But there is a frontier the supposed greatest player in the world hasn’t faced. The Greatest League in the World.
Recently John Sheridan referred to the League of Ireland affectionately as “like a great pub” (or something like that), and while he is understating it’s excellence, he’s not wrong that the League of Ireland is truly the Greatest League in the World.
Which begs the question, can Lionel Messi be considered an all time great if he hasn’t mixed it with the Danny Mandroiu’s of the world? For all his goals, he has never scored on James Talbot. He hasn’t had to compete for the golden boot against the likes of Junior Ogedzi-Uzokwe, or Pat Hoban, or Chris Lyons. He’s never been able to tactically outwit Ollie Horgan. He’s never done it on a wet and windy night at the Ryan McBride Brandywell, or Eamonn Deacy Park. And he’s certainly never done this:
In short, we can’t consider Messi (or Rondaldo, Neymar, Mbappe, Lewandowski, and so on…) a great player if they haven’t played in the League of Ireland. Which means Messi has to prove himself on a stage bigger than any other.
But where should he go? Sure one of the top teams would be the easy answer, Dundalk are in the Champions League, Shamrock Rovers are top of the table, Bohs are in the mix. But Messi shouldn’t take the easy way out. He could go somewhere scenic like Donegal, or Galway, or Athlone (probably, is it? I’ve never been). But he needs to go somewhere he can make his mark. To truly fly high, Messi needs to become a seagull.
Why Lionel Messi Should Join Bray Wanderers
The only way for Messi to put himself ahead of Ronaldo for good, and rid himself of Maradona comparisons is to show he can do it at the Carlisle Grounds. There are a few reasons for this:
Celebrations: He’ll be able to party with Rocky Jr. after every game.
Learning From The Masters: While it may be frustrating to have to sit behind Joe Doyle and Gary Shaw, he has a chance to observe and learn how to become a better goalscorer.
Chippers: He may have to take a wage cut (after all, an academy that is the envy of the world doesn’t come cheap), but he’ll have access to fine chippers including Henry and Rose who serve whomper Onion Rings.
There’s Always A Dog: Who wouldn’t want to pet a dog after a game of football.
Nice People At The Tea Stand: He can have a lovely chat with the woman who makes the tea and coffee.
Home Games Covered By Post To Post Sport: Ron will be at the Carlisle Grounds for most home games, which means Messi can be in awe of his deep voice, Charlton hat, and occasional MoHawk.
Warm-Down: Bray Bowl is just across the road, we know how he can unwind.
The Scenery: In his free time he can have a stroll up Bray Head or along the Cliff Walk.
Easy Access To The DART: He can get himself a Leap Card and hop on the DART, where if he times it right he’ll be greeted by folks asking him for a Euro for the bus.
A Spot On East Coast FM: Messi could get himself on Wicklow’s Number 1 Radio Station.
A Wall Might Collapse Again: Surely there’s more play-off magic to come.
We could go on but the point has been made. Pull on the Green and White stripes Messi.
Peil And Back
Throughout the season we have 2 domestic football podcasts a week. On Thursdays we cover League of Ireland, and on Fridays we cover Women’s National League. You can get the show on most platforms, including Spotify, Player FM, PodBean, Pocket Casts, or click Latest Episodes on our menu above.