It's usually best off to avoid getting into the Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi debates because people are not easily convinced to change their opinions.
However, I am feeling adventurous today, and I would like to hear what people think about my unique approach to the argument.
In my opinion, neither player is “better” than the other one. I know die-hard fans have a very strong opinion on their favourite player, but hear me out. The reason why I don’t believe one can be better than the other is because they have two different styles of play. If the two players played the same way, then it would be much more possible to designate one a “the best”.
Ronaldo's skill moves are very complex, using timed footwork and ball control to confuse defenders. Once he makes a defender commit to a tackle he quickly changes the direction of the ball, leaving the defender helpless. Messi, on the other hand, keeps it very simple. His small body allows him to get through four players at a time, weaving the ball between them, using very small touches. Both tactics are equally effective for the players, and so different in execution, leaving it hard to make a distinction between who is better in this category.
Another huge difference between the superstars is their regular shot distance. Ronaldo is more prone to taking long hard shots which, more often than not, fly into the back of the net. Ronaldo is able to shoot with both feet very effectively, and has no problem picking out a vulnerable corner, 25 yards away from goal.
Messi, on the other hand, usually converts his goals from within the 18-yard box. This doesn’t mean he is less skilled, it just means he has a very good sense of where he needs to be. Whether it be a quick flick from a pass, or dribbling into the box, it is still equally as impressive as a 30-yard strike. Messi generally chooses quick give-and-goes with team-mates before taking a shot, giving him more space.
In the air, it is fair to say, Ronaldo is more dominant. But we cannot use this as a reason to put him above Messi. Physically, Messi is much smaller, making it more difficult to score from a header - and yet he still manages to score them.
Who is to say that if Messi had the physical presence of Ronaldo, he wouldn’t be scoring in the air more often? Just because Messi isn’t scoring these goals, doesn’t mean he isn’t talented enough to be doing so. It just means that he sticks to what he does best. Ronaldo can stick to scoring goals like the one he did against his former team, Manchester United, in the first leg of the Champions League tie between the two teams, but by no means is Messi expected to match this quality. The size difference says it all.
Another difference between the two is that Ronaldo is more likely to come back and defend. This is a great quality for a striker, and gives his team one extra man between the opposition and scoring a goal. This isn’t to say Messi does not defend, but Ronaldo again has the physical presence to make tackles.
Now some may argue that this will make the Portugal superstar a “better” player, but there are other qualities that Messi excels in, greater than Ronaldo. Statistics from the last few season show that Messi has more assists than Ronaldo. Again this does not mean he is more valuable, and perhaps can be credited to the style of play Barcelona play. I won’t get into detail about why Messi gets more assists, I just would like to point out one thing.
Both players are amazing. Both players are clinical finishers, and a threat to the opposition. But they are both the best in the world, because of the way they play the game. They both amaze the footballing world, but do it differently, and that is why I don’t think it would be fair to say one is better than the other.
So although this article may not change everyone’s opinion, I hope it makes sense. I am not trying to stop you from loving your favourite player, I am just trying to make people realise that there doesn’t have to be a “best player”.
I have no shame in admitting that I like Ronaldo better, but by no means do I believe he is better than Messi. I just prefer his style of play. Both players, on the top of their game, are equally as threatening to the opposition. Although Messi has won more Ballon d’Or awards, I feel this is unfair. Both players are fantastic players and deserve to be seen eye to eye.
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