The rivalry between Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo
has dominated the back-page headlines across the world for as long as soccer fans can remember. Both players are regarded as the best players of all time in the world of soccer. They are so good that you can bet your last penny that each of them will break the 50-goal barrier every single year.
Their competition is often at razor thin margin, similar like the Björn Borg–John McEnroe rivalry in tennis, and the Ayrton Senna–Alain Prost rivalry in Formula One. In fact, the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo has reached a stage where soccer fans still couldn’t tell
who’s the best player, until today. Whenever Messi meets Ronaldo on the field, it’s like the World War III
between two superpowers – Barcelona vs Real Madrid.
While it’s bloody hard to pick the winner, Messi and Ronaldo represent two very contrasting personalities. Argentine Messi is seen as a shy and humble person
, while Portugese Ronaldo as an arrogant
and theatrical showoff. Messi is a good boy whom any school discipline teacher would have a hard time finding fault at. Ronaldo is a badass who would burn school teachers’ cars, while proudly showing off his middle-finger.
Both players have been making tons of money. Ronaldo, the world’s #2 highest paid
athletes earned a whopping US$79 million last year; while Messi took home US$70.5 million and is the world’s #4 highest paid
athletes. Off the field, they are the face of two rival sportswear giants, Messi of Adidas and Ronaldo of Nike. In 2014 alone, Messi and Ronaldo made US$20.7 million and US$21.5 million from Adidas and Nike respectively.
Why it’s so freaking difficult to choose who is the best soccer player, even to the best brains in the sports? Here’s why.
Two days ago (5-May), Ronaldo scored his 54th goal of the season in his side’s 2-1 defeat by Juventus. Happily, he celebrated his 76th goal of the Champion League goal-scoring chart. Two days later (7-May), Messi took back his lead, netting his 76th and 77th
goals against Bayern Munich.
So, Messi (75th goal) was on top of the scoring chart before Ronaldo snatched it (76th goal), only to lose it again two days later to the good boy Messi (76th and 77th goal). This is no rabbit-turtle race
but rather a jumping competition between two frogs. And guess what – Messi will have his chance to extend his lead next week, one day before Ronaldo springs into action to close the gap, and hopefully overtakes Messi again.
There’s little doubt that Ronaldo is more athletic, a loose cannon who can make a dangerous solo attack and wreck havoc at enemy’s territory. Like the legendary Maradona, Messi has a natural gift of balance and control over the football. The last thing you want to do it to lose the ball to Messi, because he can turn and twist accelerate with the ball at his feat, probably even better than Maradona
Hence, before you jump into the who-is-the-best contest bandwagon, you’ve to ask yourself what type of soccer games you’re excited about.
If you like to see a player who constantly showing off his skills too much, so much so that he occasionally tripping over himself, but at the same time possesses a fearless charge, not to mention powerful and deadly shot, then your lover is Cristiano Ronaldo.
But if you want to see beautiful gameplay (not Brazil Samba), whereby the player constantly produces one masterpiece after another, not to mention a clean and fair game, then you got to love Lionel Messi. Take the game where he helped his club Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich as an example. His first goal wasn’t something to shout about. What has become the talk of the world of soccer now is his second goal.