Both stars were in contention earlier this week. Cristiano Ronaldo scored another Champions League hat-trick against Atletico Madrid, while Lionel Messi scored two and assisted two in a 5-1 win over Lyon. As you’d expect, social media blew up with more comparisons being made. The heated discussions between bias fans; claiming one is better than the other for no other reason bar the fact they play or did play for their team.
Looking at their past, there were times where one cancelled out the other and was rightfully the better player. But this is a now sporting rivalry that has gone on for over a decade. It has reached the point where it’s pathetic to argue who’s better. Here’s why Messi and Ronaldo fanboys need to coexist and enjoy these two prolific players.
We’ve Reached The Point Where We Shouldn’t Argue Who’s Better
The Greatest Sporting Rivalry?
In 2008, Ronaldo won the Balon d’Or for the first time in his career. Little did we know that football would never be the same. The year before he and Messi finished second and third to Kaka but for the next nine years, they would only finish second to each other.
A four-year dominance from Messi followed Ronaldo’s first Balon d’Or. It changed the rivalries narrative as Messi was deemed the categorically superior player. Desperate to reclaim the title as the best player of his generation, Ronaldo would crawl back with four wins out of five. Making people bite their tongue when they used the award as an example to say why Messi is better.
This has left the pair with a five Balon d’Ors each. While that number seems normal now, let us not forget that the record for the most Balon d’Or wins was three. Now that Luka Modric has broken this pattern of wins, we can sit back and admire two players that started a duopoly in being crowned the best in the world.
Two Great Goalscorers But Different Players
People constantly compare their playing styles as well as their accolades. Ronaldo is seen as a more complete in terms of his physical attributes. He’s as complete as a striker can get, with his ability to score pretty much all types of goals. From winning aerial duels or shoot in or well outside the box.
Messi, on the other hand, is the master of one footballing skill in particular. Whilst he may not be as well rounded of an attacker as Ronaldo, his dribbling is so good you forget what he can’t do but focus on what he can do.
To summarise these two are very different in terms of playing styles but statistically they’re hard to be separated. So when Ronaldo scores with his weaker foot or when Messi beats five, we don’t need to bicker about who lacks what because they’re both just as good as each other in terms of what counts; getting goals.
Enjoy It While It Lasts
This debate of who’s better has gone on for longer than necessary and it won’t stop even after these two are long retired. Let’s not forget people still debate over Maradona and Pele. With Ronaldo still going strong at 34 and Messi set to turn 32 in June, how many more seasons can we expect from the two?
With the desire they have to outdo each other we can hope they have several years left. But it’s better to look at it realistically and admit that retirement for the two is closing in. With this in mind, we can applaud them until the end instead of arguing. Because who knows if the footballing prodigies can replicate a record-breaking rivalry.
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