Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been perched at the summit of world football for a good few years now, however the Argentine Messi has beaten his rival to the last four Ballon d’Or trophies and here is an argument for why Ronaldo is a better all-round footballer than the Barcelona star.
Although Messi has outscored the Portuguese international in recent seasons, the competition has been a tight affair; with Ronaldo’s teammates often relying on him more than that of Barcelona’s reliance on Messi.
The Catalan side have been far superior to Real Madrid in terms of success since Ronaldo arrived in Spain, meaning the ex-Manchester United player hasn't exactly been rewarded with the trophies that his outstanding contribution has deserved.
So what exactly is it FIFA look at when analysing the best footballer in the world? Surely goals aren't the be all and end all of what makes a great player? Perhaps it is better to analyse the overall athlete.
There’s no denying the talent of Lionel Messi and his unbelievable ability to turn defenders inside out, but how well would the agile 26-year-old fair if placed in the Barcelona defence?
Ronaldo on the other hand has a physique capable of mixing it with the games most physical
players. Since arriving at the Bernabeu, the 28-year-old has transformed his body, injected an element of brute strength to his game and rarely shies away from his defensive duties.
In terms of aerial ability, Ronaldo wins hands down. The Madrid number seven is one of the
best in the game at heading the ball, both when attacking crosses and also winning aerial battles in general play.
Ronaldo is more useful in a defensive sense than Messi is to his Barcelona compatriots. The Premier League winner is often the man leaping highest to clear the ball when defending corners and his blistering pace can also be useful on the counter attack.
Whilst Messi is gifted with fantastic ball control and trickery, Ronaldo betters the Argentinian in terms of pace and power.
Also, the range of goals Ronaldo scores is more impressive than Messi’s slightly better consistency of finding the back of the net.
Barcelona are known for their slick passing and ability to pass through teams like they aren’t even there. Ronaldo on the other hand, often has to produce the goods alone, as his team aren’t as reliable in possession and also concede more at the back.
All in all, the pressure on Ronaldo’s shoulders seems a lot greater than what Lionel Messi has to deal with at Barcelona. The Portuguese world-beater also possesses a physique that is suitable in a variety of positions on the pitch.
The battle between the pair is intense and hotly contested year on year, however perhaps it is about time FIFA take a look at the bigger picture and acknowledge the all-round game of Cristiano Ronaldo, because quite frankly, it’s nothing short of spectacular.
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