Cristiano Ronaldo was overjoyed at winning his second Ballon D’or in Zurich last night, in the process beating Lionel Messi – the record breaking four times winner of the most coveted prize for individual footballers. So who is the greatest, and where doe they stand on the list of all-time greats?
The most incredible thing about both players phenomenal goal scoring records is that neither player is a conventional centre forward. Ronaldo is often found out on the wings whilst Messi sits in the centre of midfield or operates as a ‘false number 9’.Just look at their stats: Ronaldo has 253 goals in 374 club appearances, and Messi has 234 in 290. Both players have to sore maximum in this category.
MESSI – 10 RONALDO – 10
Both are undoubtedly great individual players but to be the world’s best we have to consider how much they bring to their team. Ronalso is the undoubted star at Real Madrid, despite Gareth Bale usurping him as the world’s most expensive player. He notched an incredible 62 goals during 2013 yet Real Madrid picked up not a single trophu and are currently third in La Liga. Messi is a human dynamo, he loves to track back and help his team out. His presece on the pitch seems to lift Barcelona fans and players. Barcelona are made up of exceptional players but the Argentinian is their catalyst and led them to an easy victory in the Primera Division last year.
MESSI – 10 RONALDO – 9
Ronaldo is the king of the step-overs, the opposition defenders get dizzy just watching him. Messi in full flow is poetry in motion, his dribbling elevates football to an artform. Who can forget his stunning solo effort against Getafe in 2007? Messi just edges this one.
MESSI – 10 RONALDO – 9
With players as skilful as these two, you expect them to hit the target from set pieces and both achieve this game after game. Ronaldo, however, has taken the art of free kicks to a new level. His phenomenal free kick technique, using the instep to generate curve and power, first caught the world’s attention while at Manchester United. Others emulate it, but none will master it as emphatically as Cristiano.
MESSI – 9 RONALDO -10
Genius can sometimes be tempersmental, both players have been capable of seeing the red mist on and off the pitch and both have clashed with their club’s boards at one time or another. Early in his career Ronaldo developed a reputation for diving too easily, but he does seem to be making an effort to stay on his feet more. Messi is kicked from post to post in every game yet he rarely complains or lets the defender see that they have got to him.
MESSI – 9 RONALDO – 8
TOTAL: MESSI – 49 RONALDO – 46
Both are phenomenal talents and a credit to La Liga, but for me Messi still has a slight edge. If Ronaldo’s 2014 is anything like his 2013 then that gap could close still further. Where do they rank as all time greats? For me they are definitely in the top 5 of all time alongside Pele, Maradonna and Eusebio. Who is the best out of that fantastic fivesome? That’s an argument for another day.
If you disagree, let me know your opinion below.