Jimmy Greaves has been compared to Lionel Messi and called a billion pound player by a former teammate as tributes pour in for the football legend who sadly passed away aged 81 on Sunday.
Greaves was one of the greatest players England have ever produced, becoming Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer with 226 goals, winning two FA Cups and the Cup Winners’ Cup, while playing for Chelsea and Milan .
Moreover, he has scored an incredible 44 goals in 57 games for England and, to underline how much appreciated he was, has been celebrated in the past 24 hours.
Former teammate Alan Mullery has played 109 times for Greaves, more than any other player, and told talkSPORT he saw the forward embarrass his opponents firsthand.
“He was 5ft 9in, 10½ stones, but he could walk past the footballers,” Mullery said.
“He could leave people lying on the ground after passing them, he left the guards lying on the ground, bouncing in front of them, and it was just a natural thing.
“It was nice to hear him speak, someone asked how did he get that [ability] and he said ‘I don’t know’ – it was just automatic in his game, which he did.
Mullery had a light-headed view of Greaves’ attitude to training, which only increased admiration for his performances on the pitch.
“I mean, he was the laziest footballer I have ever seen,” Mullery said with a laugh. “He hated training, he wanted to go on the pitch and he would go wild doing it.
“He was just amazing. I’ve never seen anyone like this.
Mullery considers Lionel Messi to be a similar style of player to Greaves, but maintains that his former Spurs teammate is second to none.
“Same size [as Messi], very very good left foot, good right, it would be the closest because of the build and the left foot of Messi.
“We have the big guys now, Harry Kane, Messi, but it was something special.
Greaves has been compared to Messi because of his height, movement and left-footed stick[/caption]
“Go back 50 years and see a guy playing on a field like this full of mud with people trying to kick him every time he passes, it was Jimmy Greaves.
“Looking at all those £ 150million quotes for Harry Kane, Jimmy Greaves would be a billion.”
The 1966 World Cup winner sadly missed England’s winning final, but would have been unstoppable anyway according to Mullery.
“When you talked to him he had this cute little way of talking and laughing and joking, but no one could ever find a way to stop him,” he said.
“Someone once said to me ‘How do I stop Jimmy Greaves from playing?’ and I said, ‘do you have a gun?’ because I think that would be the only way to do it.
TalkSPORT host Alan Brazil recalls how Greaves brought the art of scoring to life.
“What a player,” Brazil said. “His finish was incredible.
“When Greavsie went through the center backs he was playing one on one with the keeper with the pace and he would just drop a shoulder or pass out to put it in a corner and the goalkeeper only had one. luck and it was falling. , and Greavsie would just waltz around them and put him aside in the net. “
“You can’t compare these days back then, but when you talk about great players the term great is sometimes overused, but I look at Greavsie’s record everywhere he went and it was sensational.
“We are talking about [Diego] Maradona, is he better than Messi or vice versa, the difference is [the pitches] training grounds, how many games they played, remember back then that there was a submarine. A submarine ! So it’s a whole different game now.
Following his retirement, Greaves had a very successful football media career, forming a double act with Ian St John, and was still loved in Brazil’s native Scotland despite the Englishman’s regular teasing.
“Saint and Greavsie, you just haven’t missed it,” Brazil said. “You had Saint who was the straight guy who laughed a lot and Greavsie was just smart, smart, witty.
“He would take the mickey off the Jocks a lot, but it was done in a nice way that the Scots ended up loving him.
“Unlike Jimmy Hill, we hated Jimmy Hill which he used to say about Scotland, but Greavsie got away with it because Greavsie was talented, funny and a hell of a player.”