Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two greatest footballers of the 21st century.
The pair of superstars are almost inseparable when you dig deep into their goals, assists and trophies, making it nigh on impossible to select one over the other in the GOAT debate.
However, with so many statistics to dilute the debate, the simplicity of Ballon d’Or trophies has become something of a universal metric by which fans can judge who has the upper hand.
And while one player finishing their career with more than the other wouldn’t end the debate for good, it would arguably give them the clear advantage that 10 years of arguing has lacked.
- David Beckham: Cristiano Ronaldo is ‘not at the level’ of Lionel Messi
- Remembering Rivaldo’s legendary hat-trick for Barcelona vs Valencia
- Andres Iniesta doesn’t think Barcelona’s golden generation will be repeated
Battle of the Ballon d’Or
However, Messi then proceeded to collect France Football’s flagship prize four times in a row and added a further trophy to his collection in 2015 after Ronaldo had fought back with two victories.
But then Ronaldo truly made things interesting by winning in 2016 and 2017 to bring the scores level, before Luka Modric put the duopoly on ice for a year by collecting the 2018 trophy.
Now, though, the scores lie in Messi’s favour at 6-5 with the Argentine edging out Virgil van Dijk, perhaps controversially, at the last prize-giving ceremony.
Ronaldo vs Messi Twitter thread
And with Ronaldo creeping deeper and deeper into his thirties at Juventus, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Messi – two years his junior, of course – might have won the battle once and for all.
But try telling that to Twitter user @cr7raprhymes who, as his username suggests, is a diehard Ronaldo fan and has posited a theory that Messi should NOT have won more Ballon d’Or titles.
It goes without saying that some of the Ballon d’Or results have been controversial over the last decade and players like Wesley Sneijder and Franck Ribery can perhaps feel hard done by.
So, with those details in mind, prepare to either nod your head aggressively or reach for the nearest pitch fork by checking out said Ronaldo fan’s seven-tweet thread on the theory down below:
They like Ronaldo, don’t they? Yeh, I thought so.
Ok, hyperbolic barbs at Messi aside, there is credence to the idea that he’s been unworthy of some of his Ballon d’Or trophies, but because of the others shining as opposed to his own flaws.
And while, yes, that might seem obvious when Sneijder is winning the treble with Inter Milan and Andres Iniesta is lighting up Euro 2012, lest we forget this is an award based on individual merit.
The Ballon d’Or isn’t a question of rewarding the best player in whichever team has been the most successful that year, it’s about which player has been the number one on their own merit.
So, sure, Sneijder might have lifted more trophies in 2010, but can we honestly say that he played better in each and every match than a prime Messi tearing up games for Barcelona? No chance.
And on that basis, Ribery and Sneijder can feel hard done by all they like, but we’re pretty confident that Ronaldo and Messi deserved their wins which, yes, means the score should indeed by 6-5.