While Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi each have an impressive trophy cabinet, there's still something missing...international winners medals.
Messi missed yet another chance of taking home a piece of national silverware after his Argentina side lost on penalties to Chile in the Copa America final on last week.
Whereas the closest Ronaldo has ever come to lifting an international trophy was in 2004, when Portugal were the runners up of the Euros they hosted.
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This lack of international success, when compared with their astronomic amount of domestic success, shows these two Ballon d'Or winners to be heavily dependent on their teammates. No one man can drag a team to victory, regardless of his calibre.
The respective sides of Barcelona and Real Madrid boast some of the best names in world football, and their quality is all over the pitch, not just in midfielders feeding good balls up to the star players. Their strength in defence and other attacking players mean that they are able to secure victories for their teams that they are unable to replicate on a different stage.
Diego Simeone has professed this view before, “No one individual is more important than the team. Not even Lionel [Messi] because he’s improved with [Luis] Suarez and Neymar at their current level, despite being the best player of all time."
“This allows us to maintain the idea that superstars still need other players around them.
But do Messi and Ronaldo think they need other high-quality players around them? Was this a factor in Messi's shock retirement, that he felt the quality of the Argentinean team was not sufficient to keep him chasing success?
Ronaldo certainly sees himself above some of his Real Madrid teammates, with his famous rant in February in which he said, "if we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders."
Yet he was referring to the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic, saying that, "I don't want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren't available it's harder to win. I like playing with Karim, with Bale, with Marcelo."
In this admission, it seems Ronaldo knows exactly how much he owes to his teammates, or the teammates he considers to be of his standard. There is not one other player at Portugal who comes close to Ronaldo's supremacy, and therefore he cannot shine to the same extent on his own.
Argentina's failure to win the Copa America and Ronaldo's failure to consistently perform well at Euro 2016 show just how dependent these heroes are on the players around them.
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