Messi vs Ronaldo: Football's biggest rivalry
Who is better? Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. This has been the biggest debate in football, since last decade. The rivalry between the two greatest footballers of all time started when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid at the end of the 2008-09 season. And as this battle comes to an end, with CR7 moving to Juventus, let us revisit the journeys of these legends.
Legends are born
Ronaldo was born in Madeira, a small island off the coast of Lisbon. He started his career at Sporting Lisbon where he attracted the eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson in a friendly against Manchester United. Leo was playing for Newell's Old Boys at Rosario when he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency and the only club ready to pay his bills was Barcelona.
Style of play: Grit vs Art
Ronaldo's blistering pace made him an extremely effective winger. He later turned into a lethal striker with Real, and will probably end his career as the greatest ever in the position. Messi was as much a play-maker as a prolific goal-scorer. His dribbles are stuff that dreams are made of. His vision, ball control and reading of the game are immaculate.
Will numbers determine the GOAT debate?
Ronaldo has won 5 Champions League titles and has the most number of goals in the European competition. On the other hand, Messi has 4 UCL trophies and is the top scorer in both La Liga and El Clasico. Further, he has won 9 La Liga honors with Barcelona. Both Messi and CR7 have 5 Ballon d'Ors. In short, stats don't separate these two.
How important is winning with the national colours?
Both players are obviously the highest scorers ever for their respective countries. Ronaldo played the final of the Euro 2004 which Portugal lost to Greece. He then led his team to a Euro Cup victory in 2016. Messi has won the Olympic Gold with Argentina along with carrying his team to 3 straight international finals. Unfortunately, he lost all three finals.
How will we remember these two aliens?
With the two legends at the tail end of their careers, what remains to be seen is how fans will remember them. Messi will always remain as the best dribbler ever. His play-making style can be compared to the brushstrokes of the greatest artists. Whereas, Ronaldo's perseverance, determination and winning mentality have earned him the right to be called one of the best ever.