No, not the kind that reputedly ate a can of film and was heard to comment that the book was better. Certainly not that one, or any of his (or her) ilk.
These GOATs are the kind that wake up all sports-lovers, ensconced in their armchairs, staring at their TV screens, building their biceps through constant lifting of beer mugs and packets full of chips, from their cumulative sloth. Greatest of All Time – now that’s a theme that really stirs them up: enough comment is generated to fill up a daily newspaper many times over, and if recorded, would keep TV channels with enough footage for a whole month.
Greatest of All Time. The last time I participated in such a conversation was two years ago, when Federer had won French Open and Wimbledon. Is he the GOAT? This one lasted for weeks, and I am only talking about comments posted in the New York Times – I am sure every sports related media channel must have had similar amount of heat generated.
Now that Barcelona made monkeys out of Man Utd, beating them in the Champions League final, the same debate has started. I saw the match on TV – Man U didn’t get much of a look-in at the ball, and the stats showed why. Barcelona possession – 68%; Man Yoo-hoo – 32%. Barca had some 12 shots on target, Man Boo-hoo-hoo had 1 – a single solitary one. Check this out for a whole bunch of stats from this one match.
Most of the match, I saw Man U chasing shadows, very often their own. And Barca did not seem to need to go beyond third gear. The Red Devils were surely children in fancy dress; they were devils only for the first ten odd minutes, after which they were merely dressed in red.
GOAT? Comparisons are being made with the great teams of the past – Pele’s Brazil, Cruyff’s Ajax and Kaiser’s Bayern of the 1970s, Liverpool of the 1980s, Puskas and the Hungarians and DiStefano’s Real Madrid of the 1950s. Haven’t seen them, except videos of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup matches against England and the final against Italy, and some of the Liverpool matches – but if Barca is being mentioned in the same breath as this lot, they must have been really REALLY special. To wake up all the football lovers reading this post, here’s a listing of the 50 Greatest European Club Sides!! If this doesn’t wake them up, nothing will come doomsday.
A GOAT within this GOAT debate – is Messi greater than Maradona? He’s still only 23, so he’s got years to go. Since he’s likely to get better and better, and seems to be a more stable personality than Maradona, perhaps he will be. He still lacks a World Cup medal – and that’s a big gap in his trophy cabinet. Maybe 2014 will be his big year to fill that gap.
The next GOAT? If only Fedex won the real grand slam in tennis – all four biggies in the same calendar year. Never been done since Laver in 1969. That could settle that particular GOAT debate, probably for ever.
The ultimate GOAT? Cycling may provide one. Is Alberto Contador better than Lance Armstrong? He’s already won the Giro d’Italia this year. If he adds the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana to this win, this year, then surely he will be a serious candidate for the Ultimate GOAT title – after all, this has never been done, ever. Not by Armstrong, not be Merckx, not by Indurain, not by anybody. That would be a serious serious U-GOAT challenge.
Watch that TV guys – I am stocking up on the beer and chips.