Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the best players of this generation, and as such are two of the highest paid players in football. Each of them have had the honour of being the highest scorer in Europe’s most elite competition, and have each won the Ballon d’Or award.

Their insatiable thirst for trophies has seen them both scoring goals at ratios previously thought to be humanly impossible, Messi through his exquisite close space dribbling and lethal left leg, and Ronaldo was his imperious physical build, pace and power.

The extremely stark contrast in the duo’s game and attitude makes for a telling rivalry, and while it is very tempting to see the Argentine and Portuguese captains as eternal rivals, the lifeless reality of the matter is there is simply no rivalry between them. As deadly as Cristiano Ronaldo is, he is simply not on the same playing field as Lionel Messi, no matter how you look at it.

We could argue all day about who the better player really is, after all I’m sure that’s an argument we make on an almost daily basis; and I can give you more than a dozen reasons why one is better than the other, but that is trivial. The matter of the fact is, when they both hang up their boots, they will be remembered by their legacies; Messi’s which is simply overwhelmingly greater than Ronaldo’s.

In his relatively shorter career, Messi has managed to win four consecutive Ballon d’Ors, and is well on course for a fifth. He has a record three European Golden Shoes, four UCL Golden Boots, and can boast of having the single most phenomenal individual season and year in football history.

Not only is he the best and most lethal striker in the game, he has also been consistently been named as one of the world’s best playmakers by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).

Just 36 goals shy of Telmo Zarra’s 251 league goals, it is just a matter of time before Messi overtakes that tally and cements his place as the most lethal striker to ever play in the league. While he is also arguably the greatest Champions League player of modern times, with 12 UCL goals he has the opportunity of officially cementing that status too.

Ronaldo, who is 28, and two years older than Lionel Messi, has won the Ballon d’Or once in 2008, and has since gone on to play runner up to Messi on three separate occasions. He has an amazing two European Golden Shoes, a relatively paltry two Champions League Golden Boots, and has the highest goal to game ratio in La Liga history.

Statistics can be deceiving though, as since joining Madrid, Ronaldo has been outscored by Messi by 161-141 in the league. If one were to look for records that Ronaldo holds over Messi, they would have cite Ronaldo’s EPL records as Lionel Messi has simply bettered everything he has done in Spain.

The size of a player’s trophy cabinet plays a vital part on the legacy they leave behind. In this aspect too, Lionel Messi’s dominance shines through, as he has significantly more trophies than Ronaldo.  

Lionel Messi has won six league titles, three Champions Leagues, two League Cups, five Super Cups, two European Super Cups, two Club World Cups, an Olympic Gold medal, and an U20 FIFA World Cup title, for a total of 20 trophies.

Ronaldo on the other hand has four league titles to his name, a Champions League title,  two league cups, four Super  Cups, one Club World Cup, and two other cups, for a total of 14 tittles.

While it is evident that Messi’s legacy is overwhelmingly larger than Ronaldo’s, Messi also has the age factor on his side and will probably put more distance between himself and his supposed rival, and at the end of their careers, people will realise that there never was a rivalry between the two. One was human perfection, while the other was extraterrestrial.


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