However, he sees one major difference between the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and the six-time NBA champion.
Messi is closest to Michael Jordan
Former Barcelona player Javier Mascherano believes Lionel Messi is the football version of Michael Jordan. However, he sees one major difference between the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and the six-time NBA champion. “Whoever plays for Barcelona is closest to Jordan,” Mascherano told reporters. “At least in how they compete. It’s a different sport. Relationships are different. For what little I saw from the Chicago Bulls documentary series on Netflix, Leo is lower to earth and natural. But they are competitive animals, which is why they had so many years at the top. Leo is possibly more human. But, in questionable circumstances, there is a look, a call, or something. These are cooperative sports. As much as you are the top player, you need teammates around you. You can’t do everything. To keep your place, it’s vital to have a number one, but your teammates have to play their part.”
Some have argued over the years that Ronaldinho’s talent matched Messi’s, but that the current Barcelona captain held up for much longer than Ronaldinho. “In the case of the Brazilian, who was a phenomenon, he didn’t have the mentality to stick around for another five years at the top,” stated Mascherano. “Did he have quality? Yes, he did what he did and changed Barcelona for several seasons, but did not want or could not maintain it. When you’re number one, staying that long depends on having a special nature.”