Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest debates in sporting history.
Those backing the Barcelona star tend to be football fans who love the more ‘beautiful’ aspects of sport by applauding his stunning close-control, dribbling, passing and general footballing brain.
As for those leaning towards Ronaldo, it tends to be born from an appreciation for his unrelenting hustle to the top and honing his physique to making him the ultimate footballing machine.
But no matter who you prefer and for what reason, there can be no denying that the Ballon d’Or will have a massive impact on both Ronaldo and Messi‘s legacies when they eventually retire.
By the time Luka Modic wrestled apart their duopoly in 2018, the scores were level at 5-5, but Messi’s most recent victory over Virgil van Dijk last year has given him a narrow lead.
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Ronaldo wins 2016 Ballon d’Or
It’s an important win for those in favour of the diminutive Argentine, especially when you consider how Ronaldo came back from 4-1 down during the midsection of the last decade.
CR7 came within a single trophy of his eternal rival when he collected the 2016 Ballon d’Or, racking up more than 700 votes after making history by winning the European Championships with Portugal.
And bearing in mind that Messi trailed on a paltry 316 votes, it would be fair to say that the right man won, but that doesn’t mean that the night’s runner-up wasn’t keen to strike back.
Messi strikes back in his next game
Ronaldo collected his fourth plaque from France Football on the night of December 12 and Messi returned to action with Barcelona at home to city rivals Espanyol just six days later.
What Messi achieved in Derbi barceloni went a long way towards showing Ronaldo that he wasn’t a beaten man and it’s a performance that’s been reflected upon by YouTuber ‘MagicalMessi’.
The video is titled: ‘On a Night Ronaldo Won the ballon d’Or, The World BOWED down to Lionel Messi’ and brilliantly shows how the superstar took out his anger on Espanyol.
You can check out his full individual highlights down below to see two stunning second-half assists and a late team goal with Luis Suarez that perfectly rounded off his brilliance.
That pair of assists. Mamma Mia.
There are certain moments when it feels as though Messi has had enough of playing around and wants to take on the whole opposition team by dribbling through them all. This is one of those times.
Although it wasn’t Messi himself who scored at the end of both of those moves, Suarez and Jordi Alba owed him all the credit for making a chance for them out of absolutely nowhere.
And then for Messi to get the chance to wrap things up with a goal that sums up Barcelona’s philosophy… you simply couldn’t write it.
So, yes, Ronaldo might have won the Ballon d’Or, but he wasn’t the best player in the world in the week that he was crowned so.