Who do you prefer, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

Messi might be younger with more Ballon d’Or awards but Ronaldo is the fastest player with the power to score at...

Naveed Mushtaq March 16, 2013
Fate wasn’t so kind to the two of the most talented and exciting footballers in history when it decided to send them together to set the world of football on fire. I can foresee regular space for them in the leading newspapers around the world for decades to come.

Comparisons have been drawn between the two of them ever since they started playing and will continue to be drawn long after they hang up their boots. I am sure we all know who I am talking about, its Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Their names are synonymous with their clubs where they play. Their name on the team sheet guarantees packed stadiums week in, week out. Their marketing teams love them because of the revenues their names generate just by selling the merchandise with their name on it.  It has always been said that the name on the front of the shirt is more important compared to the name on the back but this is not the case when it comes to these two gentlemen.

Their respective teams benefit from them every week because of the attention their names get in the opponent’s team strategy meetings, allowing other team mates to go a little unnoticed and unmarked.

Although Lionel Messi has been a phenomenal player for the Catalans ever since he made his debut for Barcelona, there is still a lot to be proven by him. Many may not agree but at this point in time it is almost criminal to say that Messi is on the same level as Ronaldo, let alone being better than him.

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, a boy from a small Island of Madeira, started his club career at the age of eight. The Sporting Club of Portugal was soon alerted by the boy’s talent and they quickly signed him up against their policy. However, his destiny had something more special in store for him.

Manchester United players after a match with Sporting Club of Portugal were so awe struck with his sheer brilliance and ability that they requested Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him up. Ferguson also knew the potential of this young boy and signed him in the year 2003. He quickly adapted to life in England and rose to fame for footballing reasons. Soon, the awards like ‘player of the month’ and year became a regular feature.

The boy from Madeira had become the league’s favourite player in a country where the world’s best footballers plied their trade. He won every trophy that was there to be won including the champion’s league and premier league. His individual brilliance was awarded when he won the Ballon d’Or in the year 2008.

A crowd which used to sing for Best, Cantonna, Van Nistelroy and Beckham had a new favourite now. The Old Trafford faithful still sing his name four years after he joined Real Madrid.

While jaws dropped every time Ronaldo kicked the ball in England, a young boy named Lionel Messi was being dubbed ‘the best ever’ by journalists and pundits all around the world.

Fast forward to 2013 and this little Argentinian has already won four Ballon d’Or awards; an achievement which may never be met by Cristiano Ronaldo because of his age. The Messi camp will forever bring this matter up whenever the “Is Messi better than Ronaldo?” debate is brought up anywhere in the world. But this is not the case.

For a person with a more rational brain, Messi will always be remembered as a player who did not test himself enough to be considered as the world’s greatest. He plays every week in the same team, league and with probably the best midfielders of this generation. His effectiveness is highly criticised when he plays for Argentina, simply because he just cannot replicate his brilliance in national colours. This gives way to the belief that he might find it extremely difficult to hold on to the tag of best footballer if he ever decides to leave Barcelona.

Ronaldo on the other hand, since his move to Real Madrid, has only improved.

He started playing in a new team, in a different league and with different players. He broke the club record when he scored in his first four La Liga appearances. He along with Gonzalo Higuain became the club’s highest scoring duo in his debut year.

There has been no looking back ever since. He has broken goal scoring records, club records and league records left right and centre. He kept performing at the same level for his country too, through the world cup and the euros. He, narrowly and controversially, missed out on Ballon d’Or three times but that does not bring his level down. He is a warrior and controversies kick him on.

He will always be remembered as a person who was the fastest, who could dribble past any defence, who could score with his left and right foot alike and his head at will.

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Follow him on Twitter @NavidMushtaq
Naveed Mushtaq A sports fanatic and a thorough follower who works in the telecom sector. He tweets @NavidMushtaq
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Ilmari Reima | 11 years ago | Reply Oh please! Let me start by saying that I like both of the players. And it's kind of unfair to compare two very different kind of players. But it's just annoying, when someone is biased towards the other player and doesn't really have any good objective arguments to support their opinion. Now, if I really have to tell, who's the better player. I would have to pick Messi. No I'm not a Barca fan or Messi fan. I just like to watch good football and at the same time I try analyze the players and the game. Firstly statistics. Messi has scored 60 goals in every competition this season and played in 49 games. He has also assisted 16 goals for his club. Whereas Ronaldo has scored 54 goals in 53 appearances and assisted 12 goals. This year Messi has also been better for his national team than Ronaldo. So you could sum up that Messi has been statistically better than Ronaldo. But it's not all about the stats. Ability-wise Ronaldo is better at some things. And you could say he's more complete forward. Ronaldo has a more powerful shot which makes him deadlier from long distance than Messi. But you have to remember that Ronaldo still doesn't score too many screamers in a year. Ronaldo is better at heading too because he's taller and more of a athlete than Messi is. Ronaldo's top speed is also higher than Messi's. But thats pretty much it. Reasons why I think Messi is better: he's so quick of the mark (arguably the best in the world), he has the vision to pick amazing passes (second best passer in the BBVA), he makes well timed runs and creates space to his teammates, His close control of the ball is ridiculous and combined with his balance he's literally the defender's nightmare. No one in the world except him has the ability to get past 3,4,5 players without falling. He is also more consistent on free-kicks. You heard it. I think Ronaldo's free-kicks are pretty average considering the amount he takes and the amount that goes in. Now to the counter arguments. People say that Messi wouldn't be as good without Xavi and Iniesta and wouldn't score as many goals. Okay, I'll give you that. Messi needs players to feed him like every goals scorer does. But you have to know that only around 10 goals that Messi scored were assisted by Xavi or Iniesta. You also mustn't forget the fact that Real Madrid has also good passers and playmakers (Xabi, Özil), who give Ronaldo more chances to score goals. Next one, please. Some say that Messi wouldn't be as good in the BPL and Ronaldo has proven to do well around the world. Yea, I think that Barca-style of football fits Messi the best. But Messi has still shown his quality against more physical opponents for example ManU in the Champions League- final, when he scored twice. Lastly to the people that think Messi doesn't mean that much to Barcelona's football, if you watched Barcelona-PSG second leg. You know that's not the case. I don't want to end this overly one-sided. I have to say that, sometimes, I like to watch Ronaldo more than Messi because of the trickery and partly because of the style of play. (Barca possession control) (Real Madrid fast counter-attacks). Both are nice to watch at their best but Barca's play can be a bit boring. I also want to mention that we shouldn't compare players too much because they are different. We should just be honored that we got two great players to watch and enjoy the greatness of football, and all those special moments. I rest my case.
Cristiano Emrys Liliano | 11 years ago | Reply C.Ronaldo is batter dan Messi 100%because ronaldo have all the skills in the world ronaldo have speed dan messi he also have short dan he scored denstres goals if messi play short he will go for one year engeray fifa always shect for messi for messi for worl best but to me Emrys Ronaldo is the best play in the world today messi dont play any thing always they shoud work for he to chop.that is me Emrys Liliano forever young vim no peace for the vigin
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