Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Ten Reasons Why the Barcelona magician is better than his La Liga rival
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are hardly enemies, but they’re not friends either. The pair have been rivals on the pitch for almost a decade now, and the fact they are on either side of the Real Madrid-Barcelona divide only magnifies their battles.
But who is better? We’ve given you our ten reasons why Ronaldo is king, so it is only fair we argue Messi’s case.
While Cristiano Ronaldo has developed into a real goal machine over the latter stages of his remarkable career, Messi has maintained similar records but excels with assists and general play. With the ball at his feet, even at the age of 30, he is as explosive as ever and is almost impossible to stop.
The Argentine slaloms between defenders with ease, often beating entire teams on his own. He has never changed because he’s never needed to and every aspect of the game is under his spell.
2. Natural ability
There are theories around the footballing world which suggest that if certain players worked as hard as Ronaldo, they would have achieved similar feats. The Portuguese winger was once very raw and his desire has driven him to the top.
Messi has put the effort in of course, but his ability and potential was clear a lot earlier on in his career.
3. Teenage king
Following on from point two, Messi scored a hattrick in El Clasico as a 19-year-old, whereas Ronaldo rarely took games by the scruff of the neck at that age, let alone one of such magnitude.
Instead, he was made to wait for his turn to become the big boss at Manchester United, while it took just two years after downing Real for Messi to take centre stage at Camp Nou.
4. Team Player
Xavi, Iniesta, Messi; Messi, Villa, Pedro; Messi, Suarez, Neymar. The most remarkable thing about this man is that he has been able to stand out by patently not wanting to.
Messi has always been a team player, focussed on titles rather than individual awards, which is more than can be said for a certain Portuguese star…
Messi is adored by all his teammates, even the ones who hated playing with him. Zlatan Ibrahimovic blames Pep Guardiola for the failure of his Barcelona career even though Messi made him play out wide, Neymar maintained a love for him as he stifled his career.
Everybody loves Messi.
The Barcelona star has the kind of love life only found in Hollywood. He met his now wife Antonella Raccuzzo as a child and proceeded to marry and have two children with her.
It perfectly sums up his quiet, unassuming lifestyle. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has been seen with a number of different women on his arm throughout his career.
7. Everyone wants him
Both he and Ronaldo are getting older now, but they are still in high demand. Ronaldo is less likely to be able to fit into as many teams as Messi nowadays because his game has changed so much, but Messi would still run rings around any team in the world.
Amazingly, his Barcelona contract expires at the end of the season, along with that of Andres Iniesta. The club say both players will sign new deals, but as January approaches, the chances of Messi leaving grow massively.
He is free to discuss a move to any club in the world on a free transfer in the winter. Just, wow…
8. Humble approach
Where Ronaldo celebrates goals and awards in the most attention-grabbing way possible, Messi dedicates everything to his passed Grandmother. Never arrogant, never looking for fame, just a man who loves his job.
Messi has been one of the best footballers in the world since he was 17 and one of the greats for at least seven or eight years now. But, as mentioned above, unlike Ronaldo this was never in doubt.
His game has never changed, his approach has never changed and his quality has only ever improved. Messi is a phenomenon. Not many players maintain the sort of level he has (in fact, no one has) without burning out by his age.
Because the likes of Ibrahimovic, David Villa and Samuel Eto’o all left Barcelona after failing to usurp Messi, the assumption is the little Argentine is very stubborn. In reality, though, he has shown himself the most adaptable player in the world.
Pep Guardiola, Frank Rijkaard, Tata Martino and Ernesto Valverde have all wanted different things from Messi when coaching him, but his form has never dipped because of that. Even when Luis Suarez arrived, he switched the right hand side from the false 9 central position to help Barcelona win their second domestic treble in just six years back in 2015.