The two superstars have been compared numerous times using subjective criteria, but there is now at least one thing that unites them — the number five.
While it’s tempting to draw parallels between Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan, it’s not an easy task.
There are numerous parallels to be drawn between the two. They were both thought to be too small as children before experiencing unexpected growth spurts in late adolescence. It has also been mentioned that they have a tendency to dominate highlight reels. Another example is their in-game intensity, daily work ethic, and global ubiquity.
Now there’s one more.
After Messi won his fifth Ballon d’Or on Monday, there were immediate calls to compare his achievement to Jordan’s five NBA MVP Awards with the Chicago Bulls during his illustrious career.
However, while Jordan’s five NBA MVPs are tied for second all-time with Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, one ahead of Wilt Chamberlain and the still-active LeBron James, and one behind Kareem Abdul-six, Jabbar’s Messi’s five Ballons d’Or are the most ever. Messi, too, has some breathing room.
In fact, only four other players in football history have won three trophies: Cristiano Ronaldo (2008, 2013, and 2014), Marco van Basten (1988, 1989, and 1992), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, and 1985), and Johan Cruyff (1983, 1984, and 1985). (1971, 1973, 1974).
The only question is, if Messi wins a sixth World Cup, who will they start comparing him to?