Over the past weekend we have witnessed the best footballer in the world, Lionel Messi, once again showing us what he is capable of with another wonder strike which set Barcelona on their way to winning the Copa Del Rey in Spain. This result also keeps them in contention for the treble of league, domestic cup and champions league trophies this season.
Over the past 20 years, whoever is judged as the worlds best footballer is normally to be found playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid at some point in their career. Both clubs have had some great players over the years including De Stefano, Cruyff, Maradona, Butragueno, Romario, Zidane, Ronaldinho and both Ronaldos. But surely considering what Messi has achieved since his Barca debut in 2004 he has to be considered the best of them all. Maybe even the best player ever? I am old enough to remember Maradona single handedly (literally) destroying England at the 1986 World Cup and I sat there in awe as he weaved his way through our defence to score the best world cup goal of all time.
Messi has yet to match Maradona in terms of international football achievements by winning a world cup but he has consistently performed at club level for arguably the biggest club side in the world. People will continue to say that Pele, Maradona, Best etc were better than Messi but the fact that he is even in the debate about who is the best ever is an indication of his ability.
Unfortunately in the UK we are not blessed with any footballers that would be classed in the 'superstar' bracket a la Messi but we may have a boxing superstar on the horizon in Anthony Joshua.
AJ was also in action at the weekend blowing away his latest opponent, the American Kevin Johnson, inside 2 rounds.This was Joshuas 13th fight in the professional ranks and he has yet to reach the fourth round. Many of his previous opponents were, no disrespect, cannon fodder but this fight was hyped as his first real test as Johnson had never been stopped in a decent pro career. He also went the distance with Vladimir Klitschko who is the heavyweight divisions undisputed number one fighter.
Johnson and Joshua are at opposite ends of their careers and maybe Johnson didn't have quite as much to lose as Joshua. But the way that AJ disposed of the hapless Johnson has to make even the most cynical of boxing fans sit up and take notice. In fact Joshua could be exactly what we need to light up a very average heavyweight division. In fact the last time I recall a heavyweight attracting so much hype and expectation was a certain Mr Mike Tyson. Unfortunately distractions outside of boxing brought Tysons career to a premature end when he lost a fight that he expected to win easily against Buster Douglas in Tokyo in 1990.
Joshua seems to be different. He lives the life. He is aware of how hard he needs to work and of his responsibility as a role model. It is hard to see him following the same path as Tyson, part from becoming the best heavyweight in the world. He certainly looks like the real deal and if he can keep overcoming the obstacles in his path then the timing could be perfect for him to become boxings next crossover superstar once Floyd Mayweather decides to hang his gloves up.