I think this boy has a future in the game.

Last updated : 23 April 2010 By THE GOVANHILL GUB

Never saw, Baxter in his pomp. Saw Best and Cruyff when they were bowing out. And I can say I saw Maradonna as he was just starting out. Since then there’s been Platini and Zidane, Zico and Socrates,. But enough of 40 puffs a day chain smoking footballers. And let us not forget the players who didn’t smoke, but couldn’t pass the ball if you paid them.


Before the, there were of course the likes of De Stefano and Puskas, Gento etc at Real Madrid. All those places had their moments, etc.


However today, in the slight, slender shape of Lionel Messi, I honestly believe we are witnessing a footballer who has enhanced, with his skill, football, the beautiful game, if not onto a better level, than at least where it should be. A form of beauty.


I truly believe football, when played correctly, is a form of art. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what a yahoo journalist, John Rafferty, had to say about Jim Baxter. And I quote;


“Some saw him standing in a spotlight of changing colours but when he had the ball at his feet in midfield he was a man in the field with the dawn behind him. Then he would draw that golf club left foot of his and the instep would strike the leather and the leg would twist in a distortion of art. The ball would travel with that strange velocity, not fast, not slow, weightless and with a kind of gentleness.”


If you love football, every Scot should have adored Jim Baxter. There’s been none like him before or since, in Scotland and only George Best has a shout Britain wide. 


If you love football, you should adore Lionel Messi. The ‘boy’ just leaves me breathless at times with his talent. But you know what, what he does most is make me smile and lift my spirits. Because the way Messi messes about with opponents is what football should do to you. It shouldn’t be a chore or a bore. It should be a thing of joy.


I’m not saying Messi is better than Pele, or Maradonna, or Cryuff, or Platini or Zidane, or De Stefano or Puskas. You get the picture.


But when Lionel Messi plays, and boy can he play, he could be regarded up there with the best of them, and the frightening thought is, he still has his peak years ahead of him.


Let’s enjoy this boy for as long as we can.