footballers called goat

What is a GOAT In Football (Soccer)?

While Michael Jordan and Mohammed Ali may be considered the best in sports such as basketball and boxing, in other sports, the question of who is the greatest of all time is frequently debated.

In reality, no one can settle the ‘GOAT Debate’ for any sport, but we can understand the proper connotation of this massively popular term for sports fans, especially soccer heads like us! You don’t want to miss out on it!

What is the Sports Term ‘GOAT’? 

The abbreviation for “Greatest of All Time” is GOAT. This term stands alongside the names of sports stars such as Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Usain Bolt.

The main contenders for the goat (aka – Greatest of all time) title in football are:

  1. Leo Messi
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo
  3. Diego Armando Maradona
  4. Pele

They have accomplished incredible feats in sports, achieved impressive results, and won numerous trophies. The phrase was coined by Mohamed Ali’s wife as a marketing ploy.

GOAT players in football (soccer) are distinguished by exceptional skill and talent, and they have added a new dimension to the sport they play or have played.

GOAT in football

Who is the GOAT in Football (Soccer)?

However, the most heated debates revolve around who is the greatest football player of all time (soccer). The debate over who is the greatest footballer of all time is never-ending.

However, there have been many outstanding players throughout the game’s history. However, not all great players can be considered GOATs. In fact, we would like to segregate players into two classes; ‘The Greats’ and ‘The GOATs.

The greats:

When we look back at the history of the game, we get clicked by a few names like Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, Van Basten, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Gerd Muller, Kaka, Luis Suarez, and many more.

Countless names can be counted in this manner. These incredible players established standards that may never be surpassed again. But there is a higher category!

The goats:

Furthermore, names like Pele, Johan Cruyff, and Diego Armando Maradona evoke strong emotions in all football (soccer) fans. Each of them was fantastic in its own way, and they all left football (soccer) fans around the world in awe.

There has long been debate over whether Brazilian Pele or Argentine Maradona is the best football (soccer) player. They were both masters of the game that defined the era in which they played and shaped football history (soccer).

Pele led the Brazilian national team to World Cup victory at the age of 17. Even today, he has the most goals for the national team.

Maradona, on the other hand, was a small-framed dribbler who drove his opponents insane. At the 1986 World Championships in Mexico, he led Argentina to the title of World Champion.

The goats of the ‘now’:

Just when everyone thought the ‘GOAT Debate’ was over with Pele and Maradona, the twenty-first century gave us two more names! They astounded us in ways that no one else could, and the standards and records were once again broken by these two modern football beasts!

Yes, we’re talking about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Let us shine some more light on these two.

Is Lionel Messi the GOAT in Football (Soccer)?

There has long been debate about who is better than these two former great footballers. A small Argentine boy made his FC Barcelona debut in October 2004.

Already at the end of that season, he scored his first goal in the Catalan club’s jersey against Albacete, assisted by the great Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho. This was Lionel Messi.

Catalan Legend

Leo Messi made his Barça debut in a friendly against Porto in November 2003. He has been playing at a top level for well over a decade, unlike many footballers who only shine for a season or two.

With his enormous influence on the game, it is safe to say that he changed the history of Barcelona.

Barcelona had only won one European title prior to the Messi era, in 1992. Barça became the most dominant team in Europe and the world, thanks to Messi.

It was crowned by winning four European titles in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015. By May 1, 2020, he had scored 627 incredible goals in 718 matches while wearing the Barça jersey.

the ‘messi breakthrough’:

His goal and assist totals have been impressive since the 2008/2009 season. He scored 23 goals and had 11 assists in 31 La Liga appearances that season. During the 2011/2012 campaign.

He scored an absurd 50 goals in 37 league appearances while scoring 14 goals in 11 Champions League appearances. He scored 73 goals that season, setting a record for the most goals in a single season.

2012; Messi unleashed:

He also holds the record for the most goals in a calendar year, scoring 96 goals in 2012 while playing for Barcelona and Argentina. Furthermore, he is the only player to have been the top scorer with 50 goals and the best assistant with 15 assists in the same season (2011/2012).

That season, he scored goals against every team in the league. Because of all of his incredible achievements, many football (soccer) fans around the world consider Leo Messi to be the greatest player in football history (soccer).

Messi, the GOAT in Football?

Golden Balls Galore

It is worth noting that Leo Messi is the only player to have won the Golden Ball four times in a row, for a total of seven times.

With that, he joined his main rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, at the top, who has five of these awards. He first won the Golden Ball in 2009 and then again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.

In addition, he won the European Golden Boot six times: in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019.


Lionel Messi made his Argentina debut in an exhibition match against Hungary in August 2005. He was only eighteen years old at the time, but he was blown away by his skill and technique.

Despite the fact that he did not score any goals and was also sent off, it was clear that Messi would be a star for Argentina.

sustained performances:

Messi continued to perform admirably for Argentina after his breakthrough at the 2006 World Cup. He assisted them in reaching various later stages of Copa America.

Furthermore, Messi has scored some crucial goals for Argentina in World Cup qualifying matches over the years.

copa America; the long-awaited glory:

And, once again, Messi was named tournament player of the year. What cemented his place in Argentine folklore was Argentina’s most recent Copa America triumph in 2021, in which Argentina has crowned kings of South American football after years of being second best to Brazil.

2014; the world cup ‘debacle’:

Most notably, Messi was a member of Argentina’s World Cup-winning team in 2014. Even though they eventually lost to Germany, it was still an impressive feat.

2022 World Cup; the long-awaited glory – The Greatest of All Time:

After years of anticipation, Messi led Argentina to its third World Cup victory since 1986. (led by Diego Armando Maradona). The Final was won against a very strong France team.

The game ended 3-3 after 120 minutes, forcing a penalty shootout. Argentina prevailed in the penalty shootout 4-2.

This silenced all the critics & doubts in regard to if “Lionel Messi is really the greatest of all time.” That is exactly what the 2022 World Cup did.

Is Cristiano Ronaldo the GOAT in Football (Soccer)? 

CR7, the GOAT in football?

The Premier League’s Star Boy

Cristiano Ronaldo is Leo Messi’s main rival in the race to be the greatest player of all time. Their rivalry has lasted more than a decade.

They appear to have pushed each other to improve their rivalry statistics. Cristiano has won three championship cups so far.

the English silverware:

With Manchester United, he won the English Premier League three times: in 2006/2007, 2007/2008, and 2008/2009. The 2007/2008 season was especially impressive, as Manchester United defeated Chelsea in penalty shootouts to win the European champion’s title.

Ronaldo scored the game’s lone goal during regular play. He moved to Real Madrid in 2009 for a record fee of £80 million.

Lighting Up Madrid

In the “royal club,” he became a goal machine, winning four European championships. Three consecutive titles were especially impressive, as no club in football history has ever done (soccer).

Ronaldo deserves the most credit for this because he scored goals in all decisive matches and was the best player on the field.

a goal-netting machine:

During the 2014–15 season, he scored 48 goals in 35 league appearances. He has never finished a season with fewer than 30 goals since joining Real Madrid. He was awarded the Golden Ball five times, in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017.

dominating spanish and european football(soccer):

He set a European record by scoring 17 goals in one season in the Champions League. He also holds the record for the most goals scored with his head in that competition.

He appeared in 438 games for Real Madrid and scored 451 goals. In one season, he had as many as eight hat tricks and a total of 34 goals, an absolute record.

He is the leading scorer in the history of the Madrid derby against Atletico Madrid, and he has scored in six consecutive El Clasico derbies with Barcelona, which is regarded as the world’s greatest rivalry. He is also the only player in Champions League history to have scored in 11 consecutive games.


He has been the captain of the Portuguese national team since 2008. In 2016, he had the most success in the national team jersey, winning the European Championship in France.

Furthermore, four years prior, he was named the tournament’s top scorer at the European Championship—a true legend among the footballers known as the GOATs.

Head-to-head Statistics

Messi Vs Ronaldo Individual Honours Head-to-head

MetricsLionel MessiCristiano Ronaldo
Ballon d’Or75
FIFPro World XI1414
The Best FIFA Men’s Player12
European Golden Shoe64
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball20
UEFA Player of the Year34
Player of the Year (league)64
Messi Vs Ronaldo Individual Honours Head-to-head

Messi Vs Ronaldo International Statistics Head-to-head

MetricsLionel MessiCristiano Ronaldo
World Cup10
Copa America / Euro11
Finalissima (UCOC) / Nations League11
League titles117
UEFA Champions League45
FIFA Club World Cup34
National Cups74
Messi Vs Ronaldo International Statistics Head-to-head

Is There More than One GOAT in Football (Soccer): Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona, Pele?

For many football (soccer) fans, the question of all questions is who is the GOAT in football (soccer), Messi or Ronaldo.

It is difficult to respond to this question because their achievements are phenomenal. They helped to shape modern football (soccer) and boost its quality and popularity.

We’re almost there, and it’s true that no one person can be crowned GOAT. But, to be fair, there are only a few players in that category. Four players, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, and Pele, are truly spectacular and deserve the title of GOAT.

Each of them was a unique and exceptional football (soccer) player who had a significant impact on the growth of football (soccer) as a sport. It is difficult to pick one of them and declare him the GOAT of football (soccer).


With his 2022 World Cup win, most people believe that Lionel Messi has cemented his status as the greatest footballer of all time, putting an end to the debate as to who is the GOAT in the beautiful game. Messi won in every level he has played for, and it’s hard to undermine what he has done for his home country Argentina and his club teams for the past two decades.

We loved it! Here we are at the end, after such an exciting debate on one of the hottest topics in football(soccer). It gave us a chance to walk you through the enticing careers of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Not to forget the spectacular details of Maradona and Pele, about how they lit up the whole world in the 20th century!

Football has truly given us a lot of joy in the shape of these ballers! Thanks for reading till the very end. We will see you in one of our other articles.

Here are Some of our Favourite Football (Soccer) Cleats

Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc.

Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?


Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.


On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.


Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.


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