The debate will rage on for eternity.
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps not just the best two players in the 21st century but the best in football history.
The respective Barcelona and Real Madrid forward’s have shared the Ballon d’Or for the past eight years and no other player has come close to their record-breaking achievements.
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A book on the pair’s records would stretch into the hundreds of pages, but here are two that we like. The Argentine is the only player in history to score 40+ club goals in seven consecutive seasons while Ronaldo became the first to score in every minute of a game.
As easy as it is to enjoy the duo’s performances on the pitch, it’s as equally difficult to not compare them. When two geniuses compete in the same league for the same trophies, the natural response is to judge everything they do.
The vote swung back in Ronaldo’s favour this summer, the 31-year-old captaining Portugal to Euro 2016 glory while Messi suffered defeat in the Copa America final.
Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo is the favourite to win his fourth Ballon d’Or at next year’s ceremony. It will take a miracle for Messi to add a sixth in 2016.
Suarez thinks it's not even close
But Luis Suarez has come to his teammate’s defence by insisting Messi remains the best player in the world.
And according to the Uruguayan, it isn’t even close.
“It is true that [Ronaldo] won those trophies but for me there is no question that Leo is the best player in the world," La Liga’s top goalscorer last season said, per Goal.
"Whether or not he wins that prize he is the best player by far. He has more of an effect on the game that anyone else.
“He couldn't win a title [the Copa America] with Argentina but he has won so many titles with Barcelona and I think that he deserves the Ballon d'Or."
Messi had a summer to forget
Nobody expected Suarez to call Ronaldo the better player but his opinion that Messi is in a league of his own is surprising.
Perhaps the former Liverpool striker saw how much his pal was pilloried after missing a penalty in the Copa America final shootout.
The game against Chile last month was the beginning of a forgetful stretch in Messi’s life. He announced his international retirement hours after the defeat and less than a fortnight later was handed a 21-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud.
However, the recent images of Messi enjoying himself on his yacht in Ibiza prove that his life hasn’t suddenly come crashing down.
He remains rich and he’s still good at football. He’s not got it all bad.