Arguably two of the best footballers of the current decade, both are, at glance, very similar players. They’re both attackers, great with a ball, and both play for a Spanish club. However there can only be one winner, so here’s the comparison: Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lionel is only 24 years old and currently plays for fc Barcelona. Born in Rosario, Messi started playing football at the age of 5, under his father’s wings, at a local club. He then rolled into the Barca youth team where he worked his way up from C-B teams to the main squad in rapid pace. His debut in the highest class of football began at the age of 16, during a friendly against FC Porto.
Now in 2011 it’s time to analyse his style of play and it becomes crystal clear that he’s a master with the ball. Thanks to his short length and fast legs, any opponent will have a hard time keeping up with him. However unlike most magicians, he’s also a terrific team player.
Cristiano is 26 years old and is a Real Madrid player. Ronaldo started his career at Sporting (2002) and in 2003 he guided his team to a win against the big Manchester United. The players of Man U knew that they would rather play with him than against him, so they contracted Ronaldo for the start of the 2003 season. After countless of successes, he became the most expensive player ever when he transferred to Real Madrid in June of 2009, the price: 94 million euro.
Ronaldo is a very fast and strong player. He took sprint lessons from the Olympics champion and is clearly a player «from the streets», pulling more tricks with a ball than any party clown could ever aim for. This quality is further emphasised by a great shooting technique that makes him an excellent asset during set pieces.
Now it’s time to compare the two players and pinpoint a winner, in my respectful opinion. First it’s clear that both players are terrific assets to any team, and both share a lot of qualities. For one they can both outplay several opponents and make a difference when the opposition is tight.
However a winner has to be chosen and in my opinion that winner is Cristiano Ronaldo. At this point Messi might have the edge on the field, but Ronaldo has great free kicks and is clearly stronger physically. The trade off being that Messi is the better team player. I remember Ronaldo when he played for Manchester United and back then he was, without a doubt, the best player in the world. His way of attacking suited the wing-play of Manchester United perfectly, and while less obvious in Madrid’s style of play, his past years are to be considered. Also in Ronaldo’s favour is his great charisma off the pitch. Messi is a pure footballer and doesn’t have that same level of personality away from the field, something past greats (Cruijff, Maradona) did have.
And that’s it for this comparison. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi share a lot of qualities; especially the ball technique of both is ground breaking. And while Messi currently has the edge, in my opinion Ronaldo is the more complete footballer in the long haul, not partly thanks to his great charisma both on and off the pitch. However they’re both very young so in the coming years this slight favour can definitely swing both ways.
Ronaldo vs Messi
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