Roger Federer didn't break a sweat as he clinched a historic eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday and while the sporting fraternity rose to applaud a champion like no other, one particular ‘compliment’ started a raging debate.
Gerard Pique, the Barcelona centre-back, tweeted in the aftermath of the 35-year-old Swiss’s 19th Grand Slam triumph: “Leo Messi, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer. The best I've seen”.
With five Australian Opens, one French Open and five US Open titles to go along with his grasscourt Grand Slams, most sports aficionados feel that Fed Ex is incomparable but clearly the outspoken Pique is not one of them.
Messi, is of course, Pique’s teammate at Barcelona and along with his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, is widely regarded as one of the best footballers on the planet.
Having won the La Liga and the Champions League with the Catalans on several occasions, it is Messi’s individual achievements that have truly set him apart from his peers.
The diminutive Argentine has broken goalscoring records with ease, dominating high-profile matches with his mazy dribbling skills and precision finishing as he has collected a staggering five Ballon d’Ors all before turning 30.
Messi does have a Olympic gold medal with the Argentine national side but by and large, success at the international level has eluded the Rosario native, with three final losses a blot on an otherwise stellar CV.
Many feel his failings for Albiceleste are an unnecessary detraction from his genius and assert that he is in the same league as legends such as Diego Maradona and Pele.
Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan dominated the NBA in the 1990s, winning the league an incredible six times enroute to becoming one of the most recognisable faces on the planet. Throw in two Olympic gold medals with the American national side aka the Dream Team, six NBA Final MVP awards and His Airness has a record that is likely to stand the test of time.
So is Pique right in the comparison?
Well, all three are living legends in their own right and have successfully transformed their respective sports with their sheer brilliance without a doubt. A comparison was ultimately inevitable and is likely to dominate dinner table discussions the world over.