What criteria should one use to determine the best at anything…in this case football? Is it the player who scores more goals? Is it the player that can perform in big matches, or that has more of an impact on games? Maybe longevity at the pinnacle of the game?
Without a doubt, to determine who is the greatest can be at times harsh and rigorous. PERIOD! However, let’s start with looking at a few categories and from there decide who’s the best in each;
In my opinion, Ronaldo’s dribbling was top quality and more frequent when he played for the red side of Manchester. He’s now more of a goal-scoring machine. And that’s not a bad thing.
However, I’ve often wondered, “What if he’d coupled his otherworldly goal-scoring ability with dribbling”. That would be a killer combo.
That said, Leo Messi’s game revolves around his unrivaled skills on the ball. The Argentine hardly abuses his dribbling skill. He’s efficient at doing what’s necessary for the team. His talent for dribbling, and God-like foresight to know when to use it best puts him way above his counterpart in this category.
This one is quite obvious. Right?! When the mercurial Portuguese came onto the scene he was skin and bones. Like most greats, for example Lebron James, the Los Blancos number 7 has worked tirelessly in the gym and training ground and that has resulted in him growing bigger and stronger.
One can make the argument that he’s perhaps the most flawless physical specimen in world football and probably all sport.
On the other hand, Messi has had to battle to make ends meet. At a tender age of 11, Leo, then an unknown boy from Rosario, was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. However, fortunately for the Argentine, FC Barcelona came to his rescue and guaranteed treatment options that his family could not afford.
Long story short, there is no doubt that in purely physical terms, Messi plays second fiddle to Cristiano.
Goal scoring ability
Since these fellas became football superpowers, the European Golden Boot has pretty much revolved around them. The numbers in recent years barely separate them.
At the point of writing this article, Messi has netted 557 goals in 647 games, and Ronaldo 573 goals in 763 games. In terms of average goals per game, Messi has an edge over the Portuguese.
There’s more; despite Ronaldo’s versatility in this department, Messi’s knack to score from across and the flair to create his own goals consistently, means he comes out top in this category.
Leo Messi | Age: 30 Trophies: 32 Cristiano Ronaldo | Age: 33 Trophies: 23
You get the picture!
What Messi lacks in terms of self-esteem and leadership skills, he makes up in his humble attitude. Despite scoring as many (if not more) as Ronaldo’s goals, Messi also provides assists, is a playmaker and is more involved in the overall game.
Many football fans seem to dislike the Portuguese star because he has displayed some megalomaniac and egoistic behavior’s. Let’s take interviews for example; CR7 has no qualms discussing whether things went his way or not while Messi goes to great lengths to put the team above his own performance.
Before this turns into a debate about morals and the meaning of life; I think Messi’s hunger for the team’s triumph as opposed to individual recognition again puts him above his counterpart in this case.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Messi and Ronaldo have earned their spots on football’s Mount Rushmore. Easy. And, Ronaldo is great! No two ways about it!
However, he shares the stage with Lionel Messi. Messi is my dream teammate and in most aspects, is he better than Cristiano. He is more involved and present in the game overall, while Ronaldo is a pure goal scorer.
Leo Messi takes the cupcake in my book and I leave you with a quote from whom someone considered to be the GOAT, Pele:
“I like both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but I don’t think there is a fair comparison here. Messi has been the best player around for the last 10 years and he is a guy who is much more present in the game overall. Cristiano reminds me a lot of the Brazilian Ronaldo. He’s a great goal scorer and I had the pleasure to hand him the Ballon d’Or last year, but his passing is not a good as Messi and he is not as involved as Messi.”
Author: Takunda Taderera
Takunda is a budding, freelance writer for Newslibre. He loves football, basketball, books, music (all things Birdie and flirts with a bit of Jazz), Philosophy and is an ultra-marathon runner.