Cristiano or Lionel? It is a question that has seemingly captivated the entire footballing community for a good few years now. Hordes of fans throughout Europe and beyond have been unable to come to any meaningful conclusion when it comes to deciphering which out of the two superstar players is truly the best.
Is it the shy and somewhat unassuming little Argentinean hot-shot who warrants credit above all of his other contemporaries, or is the brash and rather unapologetic Portugal and Real Madrid powerhouse really the one to deserve the most acclaim? The discussion is pretty much an endless one.
Whilst the world really doesn’t need yet another comparison of the two commercially coveted footballers, this article might just try its best to solve the issue once and for all…
When it comes to spectacle and showmanship, Cristiano Ronaldo really is the only winner in this battle. The highly coveted no. 7 is simply a rock-star of the modern era. The majority of people around the globe today have heard of his name and likely know what he looks like – even if they confess to having no real interest in the sport of football at all.
That is because Ronaldo – like his Brazilian namesake who came before him – has nearly everything in his locker to become widely known as the ‘perfect footballer’. He can score sublime goals from literally out of nowhere, brings with him a skill set that nearly every street performer out there would be more than proud of, and has a physical awareness about him that sees the Real Madrid man shine above nearly everyone else he comes up against.
The former Manchester United talent is a finely tuned athlete who has worked on his game a great deal. Cristiano Ronaldo used to be a flair player with not much else to him than his impressive bag of tricks – but nowadays he is simply so much more than that.
However, whilst the main man down at the Bernabeu may have very few counterparts to rival his overall game in the modern era, there is still one player who certainly proves worthy of challenging Ronaldo for the title of the world’s best – And that man is Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona star is just amazing to watch with the ball at his feet. He can ghost past some of the world’s very best defenders with the maximum ease, scores goals to a level that leaves statisticians trying to keep up with his ever-growing tallies, and mixes his play up with the rest of his teammates so consistently, it really is a joy to behold for fans of the sport.
Messi simply plays the game the way it was meant to be played and has received widespread praise for his style as a result. You could never accuse the Argentinean of ever being wasteful with possession, ever being that bit too greedy in the final third, or ever being a player that the rest of his teammates have a hard time playing with.
Yes, the Nou Camp favourite has on occasion drifted out of certain matches to little effect – but as all the aforementioned issues above could fairly be pointed in the direction of Cristiano Ronaldo for his approach – Lionel Messi ultimately has to go down as the better overall player.
Ronaldo seemingly makes too many errors to be considered an all-time great. Too often do his shots get fired miles wide, his skills end up looking unnecessary and his teammates leave feeling slightly aggrieved over his overall decision making. Obviously the Portuguese star is still great at what he does – it’s just that what he does simply doesn’t take him all the way to the top alongside the untouchable likes of Diego Maradona, Pele and Johan Cruyff.
Football is a team sport after all, and Lionel Messi is just the ultimate team player – even if this debate is seemingly one that will continue to rage on for a good while to come.
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