It’s not hard to notice the one similarity between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
They both score goals.
That’s the obvious likeness between the two best players of the 21st century. Last season was the first since 2008-09 that the Pichichi Trophy, awarded to La Liga’s top goalscorer, didn’t go to Messi or Ronaldo.
But the Barcelona and Real Madrid heavyweights are very different in their mannerisms. Messi, modest and unselfish, will join in his teammates celebrations, while the brutish Ronaldo can cut a very frustrated figure when things aren’t going his way.
The duo’s play styles aren’t too similar, either. The Argentine is the stylish magician, Ronaldo relies on his sheer power and physical abilities.
It breeds similar results. Messi has 14 for the season while Ronaldo took his tally to seven with a hat-trick on Saturday against Alaves.
Forlan won the Pichichi twice
Before Luis Suarez’s Pichichi success in 2015-16, Diego Forlan was the last victor of the award before Messi and Ronaldo’s period of dominance.
Forlan struck 32 goals for Atletico Madrid. He was also Spain’s top scorer in 2004-05, with 25 goals for Villarreal. He certainly knew how to find the back of the net.
The Uruguayan had the luxury of playing with Ronaldo at Manchester United. Together, the pair won the FA Cup in 2004.
Forlan only played one complete season with the Portuguese at Old Trafford but he witnessed enough to form an opinion of Ronaldo’s game. Of course, the Madrid star has improved drastically since he joined United at the age of 18 in 2003, but his love for a goal hasn’t changed one bit.
The ex-Uruguay international has voiced one disappointment he has about Ronaldo from the time he arrived in England as a fresh-faced teenager to his current state.
Unlike Messi, Ronaldo cares less about putting on a show and more about scoring goals. Or so Forlan believes.
“There is one part of his game that I wish he would not have changed,” he wrote in The National, via Goal.
“When I played with him and in his first years at Real Madrid, he used to go past players for fun, like Messi. Now he is more of a finisher, a killer in front of goal.
“Messi has that too, but he also has the ability to go past two or three players and change a game.”
It’s a fair reflection from Forlan. Ronaldo is the favourite to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or but for sheer entertainment, many would opt for his Barcelona rival.