Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are comfortably the two finest footballers of their generation.
We’ve seen the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona dominate their respective eras in the past, but seldom have we seen two superstars of such magnitude sharing the same epoch.
It’s astonishing to think that the pair have won a combined 11 Ballon d’Or trophies, nine Champions League titles and more than 1,000 career goals with bucketfuls of change.
Messi vs Ronaldo debate
Now, don’t me wrong, I’m hardly any different and I’ve been drawn into the debate between the Barcelona and Juventus superstars in everything from university studies to FIFA simulations.
So, trust me when I say I’m not above any of this, but also trust me when I say that I wished sometimes that I just sat back and enjoyed them both without the constant comparisons.
The age problem
Nevertheless, we’ve got to accept the truths of the beautiful game and the back and forth between Messi and Ronaldo is tantamount to a soap opera with the web of statistics and records.
But one thing that keeps us from answering the question with the click of our fingers comes down to the discrepancy in their ages: Ronaldo is now 35 years old, whereas Messi is younger at age 33.
Truth be told, it gives Messi a slight advantage by way of being able to walk into Ronaldo’s already-lain footsteps and means that projections of what his next two years will be like are often favourable.
However, the more accurate flipside to that is we can see what Ronaldo was achieving when he was the same age as Messi is now – and that’s exactly what football fans have been doing recently.
Messi and Ronaldo at 33 years old
That’s because today officially marks Messi turning 33 years and five months old – what a landmark, right? – while Ronaldo was that exact age in June 2018.
Now, if you’ve read the headline, you’ll know where we’re going here because some fans on social media have therefore been comparing the stars’ career progressions unfavourably upon Messi.
Besides, Ronaldo just happened to be on the back of winning his fifth Champions League title, scoring a hat-trick at the FIFA World Cup and leaving Real Madrid as their record goalscorer at the age Messi is now.
That’s not to mention scoring a Puskas Award contender with a bicycle kick against Juventus and scoring in his final El Clasico, a fixture which Messi has drawn a blank in over the last two years.
Fans make the comparison on Twitter
Of course, the timing of the footballing calendar would ordinarily make this a grossly unfair comparison on Messi, but there can be no denying that the Argentine has been struggling recently.
Messi currently finds himself in the bottom half of La Liga, only has one goal from open play all season and almost left Barcelona in the summer in the midst of a legal and political dispute.
You can check out some of the posts doing the rounds on Twitter down below:
Ronaldo ahead of the game
While it’s easy to flaunt Ronaldo winning the Champions League by way of his birthday’s superior positioning, these fans are along the right lines, regardless of whether they’re exaggerating.
From every angle you look, Ronaldo was in superior form halfway through his 34th year on the planet compared to Messi both in terms of club, country and individual performances.
However, the biggest reason to sprinkle a pinch of salt on the situation is that Messi isn’t a happy bunny right now and you could tell that he stayed at Camp Nou this summer through gritted teeth.
It’s by no means all Messi’s fault – besides, so much is going wrong at Barca – but even the man himself would admit that only being Europe’s 22nd best player this season isn’t good enough.