Messi misses the mark as greatest goal scorer 'of all time'

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou on December 1, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou on December 1, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. David Ramos / Getty Images

BARCELONA star Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the world at the moment, of that there can be little doubt.

But is he the greatest goal scorer in history?

We live in a statistics-ruled world and the modern football era is no different, but does quantity mean more than quality?

Does it mean that because one player scores more goals than another he is the greatest of all time.

For me that answer is no.

Different generations spawn different types of players, and comparing them is pure folly.

In my opinion Jimmy Greaves was the greatest goalscorer of all time.

Bill Shankly, the ex-Liverpool manager, reckoned Dixie Deans who once scored 60 goals in a season for Everton in the 1920s and managed 379 in his league career in 438 games for Tranmere Rovers, Everton and Notts County, and 18 goals in 16 games for England, was the best and even said there would not be better.

"Dixie was the greatest centre forward there will ever be," Shankly once said.

"His record of goalscoring is the most amazing thing under the sun. He belongs in the company of the supremely great ... like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt."

While I might not be as glowing in my praise for Greaves, I loved the way he scored goals.

And in 602 appearances for Chelsea, Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, he scored 422 of them - not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination.

So what was it about Greaves?

Well, he had it all as far as a goalscorer was concerned.

He could score the spectacular, he could find the target with his head and he could finish off team moves.

But what Greaves possessed was a calmness in front of goal I have not seen in any other player.

While other strikers of his (1960s) and any generation might take a swipe and miss as many as they score, Greaves would, some might say casually, stroke the ball home - he just took it all in his stride.

For England he scored 44 goals in 57 appearances, statisically not as good as Gerd Mueller but I thought Greaves was a better finisher than the German.

Mueller was, of course, the best of his generation (1970s).

He scored at an unbelievable ratio of more than a goal a game for Germany - 68 in 62 international appearances.

He struck home 365 goals in 422 Bundesliga matches for Bayern Munich and netted 66 times for his club in 74 games in European competition.

But still I would prefer to watch Greaves, maybe that's because Mueller scored a lot of his goals in crucial games against England.

Mueller was a goal poacher - he could do nothing for 89 minutes and then pop up to score the winner.

Never would a manager take the German off as his ability to get a goal out of nothing for a coach was priceless.

Messi, on the other hand, could still have his best years ahead of him.

The Argentine is magnificent player and a good finisher, of course he is, otherwise he wouldn't have scored all his goals.

But as a pure goalscorer, he lags just behind Muller and Greaves.

His two goals against Cordoba in the Spanish Cup took his tally for 2012 to 88, three more than Muller, who fired in 85 in 1972 at the peak of his powers.

Messi has 287 goals in 354 appearances for Barca in all competitions.

For Argentina he has scored 31 goals in 76 outings.

And for me that's the point of difference, doing it at the highest level.

Messi has not achieved the international status of Greaves, Muller and of course, Deans, who was of a totally different generation altogether.

As I say we could yet see more from Messi and then we might be able to say he's the greatest goalscorer.

But he's not there yet - not for me anyway.

Topics:  barcelona fc european champions league football lionel messi soccer

Culture feast brightens city

COLOUR: This year's Diwali Festival was a hit.

Diwali Festival embraces happiness and joy

LETTER Monty Python circus with squirrels marrying squirrels

Squirrel in Yellowstone National Park during summer.  - User Contributed

God help us with the current crop of egomaniacs in Canberra

Bagging up some Christmas cheer

GOOD CAUSE: Wesley Mission representative Mike Jeffrey and Queenslander Credit Union CEO John Weier prepare for the Red Bag Appeal.

Almost half a million people are living below the poverty line

Local Partners

The Summer that Melted Everything

See what happens when you invite the devil to town

Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drowned while filming

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar winner almost drowned in Galapagos

Miranda Kerr to wed next year

Supermodel Miranda Kerr

Supermodel and Snapchat founder to wed

What's on the small screen this week

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

TWO big reality shows wrap up this week while

The Ipswich stamp fair has it all licked

RARE METAL: Dave Roberts with his aluminium Tongan stamps from 1965.

Ipswich stamp fair will feature rare and unusual stamps

Seven decades of keeping Ipswich entertained

This is what the Incinerator Theatre in Queens Park looked like when the Ipswich Little Theatre Society performed its first play.

Times Past with QT columnist Beryl Johnston

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track