The 2013/14 La Liga season is fast approaching, and with Radamel Falcao leaving for AS Monaco, which big name goal machine will come out on top come the end of the season? Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?
These two elite athletes are the two best footballers on the planet, and some even say that Messi is the best of all time. By looking at his records and individual honours, very few can argue against this claim.
It is quite a shame for Ronaldo to be playing in the same generation as Messi, as we all know that if Messi was not around, then Ronaldo would no doubt be the best player on the planet.
These players are so closely matched it is hard to pick the better player; in the season 2012/13 we saw Ronaldo score 55 goals in 55 appearances, and Messi net 60 goals in 50 games for Barcelona.
Messi is known for his cool, calm and close dribbling skills, combined with a fantastic left foot and determined ability to stay on his feet when under a challenge. Messi is easily capable of making any defender or goalkeeper look average on any given day.
Ronaldo is known for his immense ability on the ball and his confidence of striking the ball equally well with both feet. Ronaldo's aerial presence and deadly free-kicks are also second to none.
Both players can turn defenders inside-out, week-in, week-out, score from anywhere within 30-yards of goal, score headers, score free-kicks, they also have the ability to win matches on their own. So what is the most significant difference between the two players?
In my opinion, I think it is the players who are behind them, assisting and maintaining the pace of the game. Much is known about Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta creating many opportunities for Messi during a season; these are the cogs in Messi's engine.
New signing Neymar will no doubt create many opportunities for his team-mate, scoring goals himself in the process, but in my opinion the Brazilian wonder-kid will not have a say in the Pichichi award in his first season in Spain.
Also, the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez can all help Messi score even more goals next season.
Ronaldo has the talents of Mesut Ozil, Kaka, Xabi Alonso, Angel Di Maria, and Luka Modric supporting him, alongside new signings Casemiro, Asier Illarramendi and Isco, next season surely looks a promising one for the Spanish giants, and for Ronaldo himself.
There is no doubt that Messi and Ronaldo will score a hatful of goals over the next nine months, but if I had to choose an out-and-out winner for the La Liga top scorer award, it would have to be Messi, as his record over the last couple of seasons is phenomenal.
Messi scored 12 more domestically than Ronaldo last season, finishing the season with 46 goals and another Pichichi to add to his collection of awards and trophies.
Which dominant force do you think will reign supreme come the end of next season?
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