Lionel Messi, probably the greatest football player to ever grace the pitch has had a sad end to his Barcelona love affair. What seemed like a “death do us apart” marriage has been poisoned by money. Messi has left Barcelona for PSG after 17 years a move that has propelled Cristiano Ronaldo to a higher position than Messi. Let me throw my two cents in the Ronaldo vs Messi debate.
Ronaldo has done it everywhere
Ronaldo started his senior career at the Sporting CP B team in 2002. He was later promoted to the senior team next year where he scored 3 goals in 25 appearances. A scout from Manchester United saw him and offered a contract. Ronaldo joined Manchester United in 2003 and the rest is history. At United, he scored 84 goals in 196 games, winning Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, FIFA club world cup and other trophies in the process. He left Manchester United in 2009 having conquered the English Premier League and the European Championship as well.
His next move was Real Madrid in Spain where Messi had started rising to greater heights. At Real Madrid Ronaldo became an even more accomplished player.
He scored 311 goals in 292 games again winning every trophy available. Real bought him for £80 million in 2009 and sold him for £100 million. 450 Goals in 438 appearances and you make a profit on the transfer? This is certainly the best piece of transfer business done by any sports club.
Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United after 12 years to prove his mettle in the Premier League once again. Meanwhile, Messi made his debut in the Ligue 1. This is what separates two of the greatest footballers in history. One, despite being 36 and not in the prime of his career, moves to the toughest and biggest league in the world while the other chose the easiest of leagues to enjoy his final few years as a player.
While both match very closely in terms of goals scored and trophies won throughout their career, it is Ronaldo’s desire to conquer the toughest of the league that make him a greater player than Lionel Messi. He joined Barcelona in the watchful gaze of Puyol, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta and other Barcelona greats, did not ever move to Premier League or any other League in his prime and when he did, he chose one of the easiest leagues in the world.
This is the sole reason why Ronaldo wins the Messi vs Ronaldo debate. He has done it everywhere, something that cannot be said for the Magical Argentinian. Messi’s move to Premier League would have not just ended the Messi vs Ronaldo debate but answered the long-held question, “can he do it on a cold rainy night at Stoke?“
Will Messi and Ronaldo ever play together
There were reports coming in that PSG were chasing Ronaldo for his sign. If they had gone through with the transfer, we would have witnessed something that every footballer fan has a wet dream for- watching Ronaldo and Messi play together! Alas though as it was not acceptable to the football gods and they moved to different clubs in the end.
Enjoy their game, don’t compare them
I get this a lot from many football fans. They propose that I just enjoy their game until retirement, which is fast approaching, without comparing them against each other. I mean how can one compare two sportspersons whose sole job is to be better than the other person. Unthinkable, I know! Figuring out who’s better in a game whose sole purpose is to figure out who’s better is something that many just cannot fathom.
It is not as if I cannot enjoy their game if I focus on comparing them, it’s actually the opposite. I have witnessed both of them single-handedly steamrolling teams in the Champions League just to steal the limelight from the other player. It was among the most competitive dual in sports that I have ever witnessed. It is the competition with each other that has gotten both to the epitome of footballing performance. Both Messi and Ronaldo agree to it!
Because what is sport if not the absolute hunger to be better than the other?