After the World War 2, football tournaments were on world attention and the players who played in European clubs shined through their club performances while most of the talented players in other regions had to wait for their nations World Cup qualifications. The revolutionary live match telecasting technology of 1970’s and in today’s world of football; players groomed, shined and got their fame based on club level performances. We have seen stars like Diego Maradona, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinio, Figo, Gullit etc…We had legends like John Cruyff and Geoge Best who never won a mojor cup for their nations, but still rated among the best players football has ever seen. Our certified coaches do know there is even a special move named under Cruyff from his magical skills and it remains one of the most commonly used dribbling tricks in the modern game. We had such legendary stars from other continents as well.
When the world cup tournament commenced with star names and favorites, and as the matches passes on, we get confused on our predictions and what we hoped from the teams, and the star names. Take one example of such legendary player in this world cup 2018:
Lionel Messi; from the age of 17 he spent his entire professional career with Barcelona where he has won 32 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and six Copas del Rey. He is often considered as the best player in the world and even regarded by some as the greatest of all time, Messi has a record five Ballon d'Or awards, a record five European Golden Shoes and won the World Player of the Year award by record voting margins. Both a prolific goal scorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most official goals scored in La Liga as well as those for most assists, he has scored over 600 senior career goals for club and country and holds Guinness World Record as top goal scorer for club and country in a calendar year: 91 goals in 2012. As Argentine international, Messi is his country's all time leading goal scorer. At youth level, he won the 2006 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe,and an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup during the 2006, and reached the final of the 2007 Copa America, where he was named young player of the tournament. As the squad's captain from August 2011, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2014 World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, and the 2015 and 2016 Copas America. He is the only Argentine player to score against every CONMEBOL nation, youngest player to reach 100 caps for a country under CONMEBOL's jurisdiction and most Argentine Footballer of the Year awards: 11.
Such a shining star eh… we can compare him with the great Diego Maradona for his personal and club level achievements, but we can’t compare with national achievements. There is a reason for that, I believe Messi is unlucky as a lone star in his national team while Diego Maradona was lucky to play surrounded with other stars like, Pompido in goal, Ruggeri in defence, Batista in Midfield and Valdano as a striker to give him a free role which brought the best out of him and won the world cup 1986 and played the final of world cup 1990 with the great goalkeeping talent of Goycochea and attacking midfielder Burruchaga. Since Argentinian playing styles are more free on play than defense, they win cups with great goalkeeping talents as when they won their first world cup in 1978 with the greatest ever goalkeeper of Argentine Ubaldo Fillol. If you are a supporter of Argentina or not; you can compare the team talent from positions. As for example just look at goalkeeper Caballero; He is at the age of 36 and playing for English club Chelsea, but only played 3 matches in last season, and he had only 5 caps for Argentina so far, Goalkeepers need team experience and goalkeepers without recent high performance experiences are a cold goalkeeper. As “every chain will break from its weakest link” the mistake from him during the match against Croatia says it all. But still..... some Messi and Ronaldo supporters clash with each-other and compare their club performances to their national team performances. We have to think that; for clubs like Barcelona, Real, Liverpool etc... tactical system of play comes first with their managers and the clubs spent enormous amount of money to buy talented players to fill in the system. National team managers adjust their tactical systems based on the available players who hold their national identity. Therefore, it is not practical to compare National level and Club level team performances of these stars like Messi, Ronaldo or Salah.