The Celtic World Cup Hero, The Benchwarmer And The Greatest Of All Time.

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Tonight, the Croatian national team finally ran out of road.

They have been exceptional in this World Cup but after going to extra time and penalties in their last two matches, and especially in that storming match against Brazil, you always wondered if they would have the energy to stop another one of the super-teams, and the one with most at stake.

Right from the start, I’ve felt that this was Messi’s time.

His final World Cup, the only major trophy he hasn’t won in his glittering career, the pinnacle of achievement and the one he wants most because it is still what separates him in the eyes of some people from the pantheon where still reigns Pele and Maradona.

Messi is at least their equal. I regard him as The Greatest Of All Time because he has been at the top of the world game since he was a teenager and he has done things no-one else could have dreamed of or conceived.

Tonight, well into his 30’s, he was a force of nature. He scored from the spot and he laid on a goal with a piece of spellbinding skill.

This thing now has a momentum all its own. I didn’t believe Croatia would stand in the way of it, and it wasn’t even close on the night. For all that, their team can take enormous pride and satisfaction with them as they go forward to the third place play-off match and aim for a medal. They have a good chance of winning one too.

Juranovic was solid and steady. He had a very good game.

He did nothing that will cast any doubt in anyone’s mind who was thinking of signing him in this window. It has been a great tournament for him, and he still has one game left to showcase his skills.

The biggest laugh of the night was the tweet out of Ibrox saying that they would be “cheering on” their man Barisic. Wonderful! You can imagine the response that got from Celtic fans online.

The only place he’s made his mark in this tournament is in drumming his fingers on the substitutes bench. The one game he did play, against Japan, was so hilarious and his performance so sub-par it has been optioned for Comedy Central.

In the end, Messi marches on towards France, probably, and a date with destiny. Juranovic marches on too, to the Third Place match where he’ll certainly play and either to another title with Celtic or a big money move to whichever club pays us the most money.

Barisic goes back to Ibrox. To stormy weather. Uncertainty over his position.

And training sessions with The Mooch who is apparently not convinced by the fitness of the players.

He will have been horrified if he watched the lumbering shambles of that game against Japan. Unless, like a certain hapless Record reporter, he also thought he had “a stormer.”

In which case, that club is in more trouble than even I believe.

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  • 18871888 says:

    Personally, I still believe Edson Arantes Do Nascimento to be the best ever; he could conceive of, and perform feats beyond the level of others.

  • Nick66 says:

    Ah, well, Jura has done himself proud. In the end his team fell to the better country. A bronze?, perhaps but a head held high, indeed.
    Morocco v Argentina, not impossible.

  • Donald Macintyre says:

    It certainly was laughable pointing out Barisic was in the semi final, his one game had shown how poor he is, the Japanese player did not have an easier game.
    Maybe if Liel Abada had opened his pocket slightly wider he may have made a greater impact. It shows how poor he is that when Croatia subbed the left back last night, bomb scare Birna was nowhere to be seen

  • Johnny Green says:

    For me Maradonna is still the best ever, though I might have a rethink about that if Argentina do win the World Cup.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Maradonna imo the best ever. Tbh and nae disrespect tae Pele, ah think part of the reason he’s given the best ever title, is due tae his conduct off the pitch as well. A true role model on and off the pitch. Ah think Maradonna’s self-inflicted baggage had an influence on a lot of peoples decisions, tho as far as football skill itself goes, ah dont think anybody equals him. Actually think Messi comes in 3rd with the 3 of them ( wi Tony Cascarino a close 4th) Just an opinion tho and really hope the wee man gets his world cup winners medal. P.S. only kiddin about Cascarino of course !

  • S Thomas says:

    Messi by miles.. 7 time world player of the year, Argentinas 3rd goal last night, was because of the little maestro. Hope the icing on the cake for him will be Sunday, but if not, still the best in my opinion. 1. Messi 2. CRonaldo 3. Maradonna 4 Pele 5 Cruyff

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Well that’s me fukt if it’s ‘Messi by miles’ then eh ? Cut and dried. Personally, just goin by plenty of footage through the years of these players in their day, for club and country, in my (humble) opinion (if thats ok) Maradonna was the most technically gifted. I bow tae your obvious superior knowledge tho. Fk sake.

    • S Thomas says:

      Messi to me is miles the best.. in my opinion to be 34 years of old, and still turning a game like last night, was an absolute joy to watch. It’s all about opinions. Maradonna is up there as well, great player as well, his goal against England, is arguably the greatest goal ever in world cups. People have their own view in what makes them the best, there is an argument for Kruyff as well. I personally think it’s Messi, because of how long he has been doing it for.

      • Kevan McKeown says:

        It IS all about opinions. They all have, (had) their particular strengths and if one of say Messi, Maradonna, Pele, had tae be considered as ‘the best ever,’ it would be by a hugely finer margin than ‘miles’, thats just nonsense. Although ah think Messi has better vision on the park and along with Maradonna, amazin ability and brilliant goal scorin skills (technique), ah think Maradonna’s close control at speed, pure strength and sheer dynamic ability in the way he played singles him out (for me). Anyway, we’ll agree, its about opinions. Happy xmas.

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