Lionel Andrés Messi: The GOAT?

News Network
December 19, 2022

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For his legions of admirers, the debate about Lionel Messi's right to be regarded as the greatest footballer in history is officially over.

The absence of a World Cup winners' medal has long been Exhibit A in the argument about why Messi does not rank above Pele and Diego Maradona in football's pantheon.

But with Argentina's victory over France in Sunday's jaw-dropping World Cup final in Doha, the case against the 35-year-old maestro is now surely closed.

In a glittering career that has spanned three decades, Messi has won 37 club trophies, seven Ballon D'Or awards and six European Golden Boots.

There has been a Copa America title, an Olympic gold medal and a list of scoring and statistical records that may never be beaten.

The only remaining gap on Messi's CV -- a World Cup victory -- was comprehensively filled in on Sunday night over the course of 120 mesmerising minutes at the Lusail Stadium.

In his final World Cup appearance -- a record-breaking 26th for what it's worth -- Messi scored twice as Argentina battled to a 3-3 draw in extra-time before prevailing on penalties.

Not even Kylian Mbappe's magical hat-trick for Les Bleus could upset Messi's appointment with destiny on a night that seemed pre-ordained.

Former England and Barcelona forward Gary Lineker tweeted: "It's been an absolute privilege to watch Lionel Messi for nearly 2 decades. Moment after moment of spellbinding, breathtakingly joyous football. He's a gift from the footballing Gods."

"Lionel Messi. The best ever," was the instant verdict of England midfielder Declan Rice after Sunday's triumph. "We will never see a player like Messi ever again."

Whether Messi really is the 'greatest ever' is a question, of course, that is as futile as the answer is subjective, a parlour game that boils down to the eye of the beholder.

What is undeniable though is that by sheer volume and range of silverware, Messi has won more than the other serious rivals to his "G.O.A.T" status: Pele and Maradona.

While Pele's three World Cup triumphs remain unrivalled, the Brazilian icon's club career pales in comparison to Messi's.

In his peak years with Barcelona, the Argentinian regularly scaled the pinnacle of European club football, winning four Champions League titles - arguably a technically superior arena than international football.

Maradona meanwhile won only one World Cup, and never lifted a European Cup during a club career in Europe spent mostly with Barcelona and Napoli.

The counter-argument of course is that Pele and Maradona played in an era where players were offered far less protection than the likes of Messi and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pele hobbled out of the 1966 World Cup finals after taking one brutal tackle too many; Maradona was also subjected to roughhouse treatment throughout his career.

Maradona's former international team-mate Jorge Burruchaga is reluctant to compare players across generations.

Burruchaga, scorer of the winning goal -- set up by Maradona -- in the 1986 World Cup final victory over West Germany says simply that Messi is the greatest player of his era.

"Win or lose, Messi is not more or less than Maradona," Burruchaga told AFP ahead of Sunday's final. "Messi is going to be in history whatever happens."

"There are five players in the past 70 years who can be considered the best in the world -- Di Stefano, Johan Cruyff, Pele, Maradona and Messi.

"Messi is in that list, whether he wins the World Cup or not. But I hope he does."

On Sunday, the hope of Burruchaga, and millions of Argentinian compatriots came true. 

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News Network
June 7,2024

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Moscow: Four Indian medical students drowned in a river near St Petersburg in Russia and the Indian missions in the country were coordinating with Russian authorities to send their bodies to their relatives as soon as possible.

The four students—two boys and two girls aged 18-20—were studying at the nearby Novgorod State University in Veliky Novgorod city.

Local media reports said that a female Indian student, who waded out from the beach on the river Volkhov, got into trouble and four of her companions tried to save her.

In their attempt to save her, three others also drowned in the river.

A third boy was pulled to safety by local people.

"We are working to send the bodies to the relatives as soon as possible. Proper treatment is also being provided to the student whose life has been saved," the Embassy of India in Moscow said on X.

The Consulate General of India in St Petersburg said these students were pursuing medical education at Veliky Novgorod State University.

"Sincere condolences to the bereaved families," it posted on X.

The Consulate General said it was working together with the local authorities of Veliky Novgorod to send the mortal remains to the relatives as soon as possible.

"The bereaved families have been contacted and assured of all the possible help," it said.

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News Network
June 12,2024

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Shocking details have emerged from the probe into the murder of a man who allegedly made derogatory comments against the friend and co-star of leading Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa.

According to police sources, Renukaswamy (33) drew the wrath of Darshan for making lewd comments against Pavithra Gowda on her social media posts.

"It was Pavithra who instigated Darshan to punish Renukaswamy. Accordingly, the plan was hatched," they said.

Renukaswamy hailed from Lakshmi Venkateshwara Layout in Chitradurga and worked with a pharmacy company.

"Darshan engaged the Chitradurga unit of Darshan Fan Club Convenor Raghavendra alias Raghu, who obtained all information about Renukaswamy." Renukaswamy's wife Sahana said Raghavendra picked up her husband on Friday night from near their house.

The victim was abducted and taken to a shed in Kamakshipalya area in Bengaluru, the sources said.

"Darshan beat up Renukaswamy with a belt. After he fell unconscious, his accomplices thrashed him with sticks. Further, they threw him against a wall, which proved fatal," they said adding there were multiple bone fractures all over his body.

After he died, his body was dumped in a stormwater drain.

A food delivery boy who noticed dogs eating a human body alerted the police.

When the police were working on the case, two accused approached Kamakshipalya police and "confessed" to having killed Renukaswamy over a financial dispute.

As the investigation progressed, police found out Darshan and Pavithra's involvement.

Darshan, his friend and film actress Pavithra Gowda, and 11 others were arrested in connection with Renukaswamy's murder on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old actor has been remanded to six days' police custody by a court. 

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News Network
June 9,2024

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Deir al-Balah, Jun 9: At least 274 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the Israeli raid that rescued four hostages held by Hamas, Gaza's Health Ministry said Sunday. 

Hamas fighters chose not to execute the hostages when the Israeli occupation army carried out the complex daytime operation deep inside the territory.

The killing of so many Palestinians, including babies, children and women, in a raid that Israelis celebrated as a stunning success because all four hostages were rescued alive, showed the heavy cost of such operations on top of the already soaring toll of the 8-month-long war ignited by Hamas' October 7 attack.

Scores of hostages are believed to be held in densely populated areas or inside Hamas' labyrinth of tunnels, making rescue attempts extremely complex and risky. A similar raid in February rescued two hostages while leaving 74 Palestinians dead.

The operation deep into Nuseirat, a built-up refugee camp in central Gaza dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, was the largest rescue since October 7.

So far, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 36,801 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 83,680 others in the Gaza Strip. 

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