It’s easy to assume that Lionel Messi hasn’t needed to work as hard as Cristiano Ronaldo to maximise his potential.
Footage of Messi ghosting past defenders on bobbly pitches as a child in his native Argentina is proof that he was born with a god-given talent.
However, Carlos Tevez - who has played with both superstars during his illustrious career - believes talk that Messi doesn’t work as hard as Ronaldo is absolute nonsense.
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“Messi works on his talent too, eh,” Tevez was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper Marca, per the Mirror. “Just look at how when Leo started he never scored goals from free kicks, he practiced them loads and now he scores loads like that.
“I don’t think that with Cristiano Ronaldo it’s a matter of work more than talent. Messi in the last two years has begun to really take care about what he’s eating, he’s ditched the cola etc.”
Ronaldo had bags of talent as a kid
To claim that Ronaldo had little talent to begin with would be hugely unfair on the Portuguese forward.
Sure, he’s devoted hours to perfect his game and worked tirelessly on his physique, but the Real Madrid star had bags of talent as a youngster.
As a raw and skinny teenager, Ronaldo tore Manchester United to shreds in a pre-season friendly back in the summer of 2003 with his fancy footwork and direct style of play.
That performance famously prompted the United stars to pester Sir Alex Ferguson into signing the Portuguese sensation on the flight back to Manchester. A £12.24 million fee was subsequently agreed between the two clubs and the rest is history.
Messi has a unique gift
However, even the most vociferous Ronaldo fan would struggle to argue that the 31-year-old was born with more talent than Messi.
The South American makes the game look so effortless, despite the fact his physique isn’t like Ronaldo’s.
As Tevez alludes to, though, Messi has made more of an effort to look after his body in recent years - including cutting out the cola and easing off the pizzas.
Messi is only 5ft 7in tall but he possesses magnificent core strength, making it difficult for opponents to knock him off the ball. Rarely do you see him muscled out of possession.
To claim that Messi doesn’t work as hard as Ronaldo would also be doing a disservice to the Barcelona player.
Every inch as professional as Ronaldo, Messi would not have scaled the remarkable heights he has during his career without putting in the hours on the training ground.
Has Ronaldo worked harder than Messi to fulfil his talent? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.