The Argentine talisman, Lionel Messi and his Portuguese arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, have both engraved their names into the history of “beautiful game”.
Already at the peak of their magnificent careers, these iconic starlets are hailed around the world as the greatest talents of modern football.
The Barcelona sensation, Lionel Messi has emerged into the limelight of European football in spectacular fashion. Known for his mesmerizing skills, sensational dribbling, and blazing speed, the Argentine has evolved into one of the game’s most illustrious stars. The Barca phenom has been the talk of the football world, smashing momentous records and playing a lead role in Barcelona's trophy-laden years.
Not trailing far behind is the Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Prominent for his deadly free-kicks, lightning speed and aerial dominance, Ronaldo has often been considered the most complete player of his era. His god-gifted talent combines with his extraordinary physique to turn him into one of the world's most effective players.
Both of these living legends of football has proved exceptional in their own ways. It is unquestionable that they are very best of the game. But in the endeavour to single out the best of all, a controversial debate arises, the most heated debate in all of football. It is indeed difficult to determine the better of them when they exhibit such striking differences.
Some may match their voices with FIFA, lavishing praise at Barca wizard Lionel Messi for his mouthwatering magic, mind-blowing records and perhaps most importantly his moral excellence on the pitch and humble character.
Others may brand Cristiano Ronaldo as the true protagonist of modern football, boasting that his splendid free-kicks, the seemingly impossible headers and his unrivalled speed are no match to the instincts of Messi.
CR7 has won just a single Ballon d'Or (in 2008) in comparison to Messi's consecutive four. The fact that Messi has ousted Ronaldo four times to win the game’s most prestigious award is enough to settle this controversy. But the critics of Messi will go as far as opposing FIFA and grope for lame excuses to support their opinions, not realizing their grave errors.
If football’s most cherished award fails to convince their stubborn minds, then perhaps some undeniable facts could expose them to the light of truth and reality. Have a look at the following comparisons:
Always preferring to speak with his feet, Lionel Messi’s records are undeniable in its greatness. The Barcelona forward has been entitled “the record-smasher” of world football. And for good reason.
Lionel Messi crushed Gerd Muller’s record of the highest number of goals in a single calendar year scoring an astonishing tally of 91.
He also holds the record of the highest hat-trick scorer in a single La Liga season with 8.
Top scorer in the Champions League for 4 consecutive years.
Highest goal scorer in El Clasico surpassing Ronaldo.
Highest scorer in the history of La Liga with an astounding 60 goals.
There are dozens of eyebrow-raising records forged by this Argentine wonder, and many of them well beyond the realms of his Real Madrid rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Besides being the top scorer in the last four seasons, the Argentine international has also overpowered Ronaldo in terms of assists. Switching our attention to the international stage, Messi is, however, criticized for his performances with the national team. But there too, his endeavours have come to fruition.
Messi won the gold medal with the Argentine Olympic Team and broke Maradona’s record for the highest number of goals in a single year. Messi’s unique style of play has drawn comparisons with Argentine compatriot, Diego Maradona, considered as one of the greatest footballers history has ever witnessed.
On the other hand, Ronaldo, has failed to win a single title with his national team. Leo’s venerable achievements are still vibrant on the face of reality and its echoes will resonate the football world for years to come.
Unlike Ronaldo, Messi may lack a physical structure fit for football, but this fact has always been overshadowed by his fancy footwork, intriguing style and his excellence in teamwork. Being the only player with the ability to change direction at full speed also means that the Argentine has a better control of the ball than CR7.
Ronaldo's moral misdemeanors have undoubtedly been the greatest setback in his career. His disloyalty to his club and his lack of teamwork also adds to the growing number of reasons of why many people dislike the Portuguese.
Though Ronaldo is virtually more proficient at headers due to his body built-up, there still remains a controversy reigning upon the prospect of who is the most effective at free kicks.
It is absurd even to think that FIFA, the sole governing body of football, could make a mistake in awarding the prestigious Ballon D’or .The coveted FIFA organization, constituting some of the world’s most prominent football analysts and former legends has not committed a blunder, as many insist, in awarding Messi the game's most revered individual honor, for 4 times. And the Barcelona superstar has done everything to uphold his venerable reputation in world football and prove FIFA right.
Rising through the ranks at FC Barcelona, Messi has become a patriotic symbol of the club and perhaps one the most loyal to FCB. He has always been a character of great morality both on and off the pitch and is often portrayed as the ideal model for young football enthusiasts to learn from.
Though he may not like it, reality has forced Ronaldo to play second fiddle to Messi in world football. And the undeniable truth is that Messi is the greatest footballer of his era and perhaps one of the greatest in history. And some may even consider unworthy for Ronaldo to rival such a great player. Therefore, in my opinion and in the opinion of many FIFA has indeed made the right choice.
With nerves of steel, unwavering determination and fierce competitiveness, nothing seems to stand between the Barcelona legend and his fifth Ballon D’or.