It's possibly one of the greatest debates in world football, and almost everyone has an opinion on the subject.
Who is better? Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima?
There are countless alternative ways that these true footballing legends can be compared. One thing to consider first is that the two have competed in different generations, which suggests the levels of performance are not identical from both periods.
In addition, it's impossible to say one is clearly better than the other whilst one is still fulfilling his playing aspirations. This is merely a comparison to date.
The question previously stated is not simply settled by who could do more tricks, or which had the most outrageous hairstyle, nor by who scored more for Real Madrid.
However it does seem like a good place to start.
Ronaldo, or "El Fenomeno" joined Real Madrid for a reported fee of €46 million, which in 2002 was a lot more money than valued today. His shirt sales alone broke all selling records on the first day, such was the hysteria surrounding the player.
Having already been the most expensive player ever after joining Inter Milan from Barcelona in a £19, 500, 000 deal, it's a shame El Fenomeno fell just £1million shy of Zidane's record fee, a year after the Frenchman's transfer.
During his four and a bit season's with the Spanish capital's number one team, Ronaldo enjoyed playing some of the best football of his career. Had it not been for the injury woes which plagued him throughout, perhaps he would have scored more than 104 goals in his 177 appearances.
During his spell at Madrid Ronaldo also showed that he was more than capable of turning it on when it mattered. Most notably in the Champions League quarter final against Manchester United where he bagged a hat-trick at Old Trafford.
The trophies he won at Madrid does not reflect on the true nature of the forward, with only a single La Liga title to his name, accompanied with the Intercontinental Cup and Spanish Super Cup.
Towards the end of the 2003-04 season El Fenomeno and Madrid were on course for the treble, until Ronaldo was lost to another injury. Subsequently the team lost the Copa del Rey final, succumbed to defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals, and lost form in La Liga. Despite Ronaldo still finishing the as the league's top scorer with 24 goals.
In comparison with Cristiano, who joined the club for a then world record fee of £80 million, the Portugal international has not had near the same troublesome injury injustice.
Despite that Ronaldo has been at Real Madrid for four full seasons, currently completing his fifth. The tricky trickster was predominantly a winger at Manchester United, establishing himself as a striker at Real where his goal record speaks volumes.
Scoring a total of 225 goals, in 216 appearances for Madrid is no mean feat, and has earned him the world-wide reputation he has today. His best season saw him record 60 goals in just 55 appearances.
Goals are certainly a good place to start, because goals win matches and matches win trophies. For someone to have scored so many goals in comparison to El Fenomeno, it's slightly disappointing that he has only won three trophies in Spain.
Just a single La Liga win with then manager Jose Mourinho, accompanied with a single Copa Del Ray title and the Spanish Super Cup could be forgiven for leaving a sour taste in the mouth.
It's one thing scoring for your club in league and cup fixtures, however the truly great players turn up on the international stage.
El Fenomeno made his debut international debut in 1994 as a 17-year-old, and although he went to the World Cup that year he didn't play a single minute.
However by 1996 he was playing more regularly, and in the Olympics that year helped his country to claim the bronze medal. Two years later he was back at the World Cup, but this time he was regarded as the worlds best player.
That tournament he scored four goals and assisted three, had it not been for a medical scare the night before the final, many think Brazil would have won that World Cup instead of losing to France 3-0.
98' was forgotten by 2002, with Ronaldo leading the line once more. The Brazil legend lead the country to it's fifth World Cup, claiming the Golden Shoe in the process with eight goals in that tournament alone. He also equalled Pele's record of 12 World Cup strikes during that summer.
The following World Cup in Germany El Fenomeno became the 20th player to ever score in three different World Cups. Despite Brazil being undone in the quarter's, Ronaldo broke the all time World Cup goal scoring record, surpassing Gerd Muller.
In total Ronaldo managed to play 98 times for his country, converting an un-rivalled 62 goals in doing so.
Cristiano hasn't retired, and with the World Cup next year his statistics could look very different by this time next season, but to date it stands as follows.
Cristiano's first major international tournament was Euro 2004, despite the team getting all the way to the final they were undone by a rigid Greece side. Ronaldo finished the competition with two goals, and two assists.
In the Olympics the same year Ronaldo scored again, but in polar-opposite fashion Portugal were eliminated in the first round.
The 2006 World Cup in Germany saw Cristiano score just a single goal as his side were knocked out by France, finishing behind Germany in fourth place for the competition.
The front-man was yet again disappointing in Euro 2008. Scoring just a single goal in the tournament, after recording eight in the qualifying stages, this surely suggested the player couldn't live up to his reputation on the big stage. His search for an international accolade continued after being defeated in the quarter-finals.
the 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw Ronaldo named man of the match in all three group stage fixtures, but with just a single goal coming in the 7-0 drubbing of North Korea, questions still remained. Spain were the side to defeat them this time eliminating Portugal in the round of 16.
Euro 2012 has been the only occasion Ronaldo has stepped up on an international level and performed the way expected. He was named in the Team of the Tournament for second time (2004) and finished joint top scorer with three goals, despite losing to Spain on penalties in the semi-finals.
As I aforementioned the World Cup is next year so this could all change very soon.
Still, because Cristiano hasn't finished his career to judge him purely based on this would be unfair.
In measuring the pair's accolades more similarities are drawn between the players than originally thought.
The Brazil icon was well travelled in his playing days with success following him kindly. In total the player was involved with 13 trophy winning sides over a career that stretched 18 years in three leagues.
In addition to his five international trophies, which include two World Cup's and two Copa America awards, you have a player that on average won a trophy in every season of his career, something truly noteworthy
Separately Cristiano has only been playing for 11 years in his illustrious career, similarly it see's him feature in three leagues also.
Despite not winning silverware at boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, he did manage to break goalscoring records for their youth teams on his way to the top.
At Manchester United, if you disregard the Community Shield, Ronaldo won seven trophies in just six seasons with Sir Alex and co, including the Champions League and three Premier League titles.
in addition to his three prizes from Spain Ronaldo has 10 trophies in his 11 current years of playing, very much following the footsteps of the Brazilian champion. Should his form continue it can only be anticipated that he will add to his current collection.
The duo's list of individual accolades is more than most players will ever see in their respective pursuit of glory. In terms of the most recognisable ones, both players have picked up top-goalscorer trophies in La Liga and previous domestic leagues.
As for FIFA World Player of the Year awards, the man from South-America has inherited three compared to Ronaldo's singular award. Similarly in Ballon d'Or accolades Cristiano has just the one, while the former Barcelona hit-man possesses double that.
World Soccer Player of the Year is another award in which both have been involved, and since it began judging players in 1982 the award has proved comparatively consistent.
Cristiano has won the award just once in 2008, with Ronaldo currently joint all time record holder with three of the accolades under his belt. To put that into perspective he's surpassed Platini, Gullit, Van Basten and Zico to be rivalled by none other than Lionel Messi, who also has three.
Again, as previously stated this comparison is not final with the Portugal captain still playing, having the potential to add far more success to his continuously rising reputation.
It should be noted that once a player has left the pitch and his playing days, like a fallen rock star, they are seen more favourably with regards to awards. So because Cristiano seems to have less now, when he retires he will more than likely be recipient of several awards.
As a result the outcome of this comparison can never be a forgone conclusion as both players have different styles, playing in different teams at separate times and so on.
Going purely on the figures i have mentioned, aided with my personal opinion i believe the Brazil icon is the superior of the two. If Cristiano manages to win something with his native Portugal, or goes on to break nonsensical records then the tide may turn.
However Cristiano has time on his side to change all this, at just 28 he is only now moving into what many would feel is the peak of his career, but at this moment in time I rate him as second best.
Finally, both of these players have contributed so much for the world game, it's easy to say the sport would have been far less beautiful had these two not become professional's. It is perhaps that reason, and their famous name, which is why they will always be compared.
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