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Why the Messi vs Ronaldo debate will not go away
Dec 14, 2021, 3:56:00 AM

Why the Messi vs Ronaldo debate will not go away

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been embroiled in a friendly rivalry since they broke into football. They are considered the two best players in football history but their greatness is always debated. Let’s talk about why the debate will not go away.

Messi and Ronaldo have always been at the top of the football world. They broke into the scene as the best young prospects in a long while and they continued to improve as time went on. Messi arguably became the best player in the world and Ronaldo did the same. Their fans have been debating with one another for a long time about who’s a much better player between them.

Both players are amazing because they play special brands of football. Messi is more geared towards a mix of elite playmaking and goal-scoring while Ronaldo is focused on pure goal-scoring. On the pitch, they are rivals but it is all love and respect outside.

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Both players will always be superstars until retirement

Both Messi and Ronaldo are in their 30s which means that they are close to retirement. However, fans and pundits should realize that these two stars can still play at a high level for a long time. It is unlikely that they will play until that age but you can never go wrong with believing in these players.

Ronaldo himself has shown that he can evolve as he ages because he has become more of a target man. Earlier in his career, he was a left-winger who used his stellar dribbling moves to get past defenders and score the goal. He was known for breaking down the defences on his own which was an amazing skill during his early years.

CR7 aged which meant that his body is more susceptible to injuries. This led to him becoming the target man at Juve and in his second stint with Manchester United. He has proven that he can adapt to the modern playstyle even if he is ageing.

For Messi, he is still the model of consistency for star players. You can rely on him to perform at peak level all the time because he always finds a way to contribute to goals. Messi is a small player but he is a titan when he plays at his maximum level. He can’t be stopped when he gets space to dribble and find gaps in the defence.

Even if he’s playing with Paris SG, Messi has found a way to be the main star with both Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. on the team. Messi is the perfect player to plug into any team and you can expect him to produce at a high level. You can also say the same about Ronaldo but Messi is slightly more versatile with his ability to move to the number 10 role.

With this continued growth, you should not count these two stars out. They will keep going and play at a high level while also maintaining their spot atop the football world. The debate will continue because both players love to motivate each other with constant accolades.

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Their achievements are comparable

In terms of club achievements, both players comparably have had strong trophy cabinets since they have won so many leagues with their clubs. In terms of individual achievements, it is hard to differentiate Leo and CR7. Of course, Leo has the lead in terms of Ballon d’Or trophies which his fans use as the main argument in the debates.

It is hard to differentiate between the two players because they have similar trophy cases. They will forever be linked with each other since they were on opposite sides of the fiercest club rivalry in football.

Messi has more time to exceed everyone else because he is younger than CR7. When it comes to age, the Portuguese star will most likely retire first which means that Messi has the lead. However, most CR7 fans will point towards his accolades outside of La Liga because Messi had such a long stint at Barça. With his move to Paris SG, he has continued to prove that he’s a top-tier player and he’s bucked that specific criticism.

Another aspect that should be discussed is the international football accolades. When Ronaldo won the European Championships with Portugal back in 2016, that was the main argument that his fans used to put him over Messi. However, this changed in 2021 when Leo led Argentina to their first Copa America trophy in a long while. Even on the international stage, they are still neck and neck with accolades.

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They are a once in a lifetime duo

Football fans are blessed with two players that only come once in a lifetime. They are unique players who have influenced so many people around the world to play or watch football. They are amazing players who have changed the sport and raised the bar for every footballer.

Both Messi and Ronaldo have made a significant impact on the sport with their displays on the pitch. Any rising star is always compared to Messi and Ronaldo because they became the standard of football greatness. Even the former superstars that preceded Messi and Ronaldo are amazed by how the duo can stay consistent late into their careers.

Pélé has weighed in on the debate between the two stars. He said, ‘At the moment people always try to compare Ronaldo with Messi [but] it's a different style. They are two great players, but in the past 10 years, the best in the world was Messi’.

If the legendary Pelé is commenting on the debate, you can tell that this has passed through boundaries and even the language barrier. During his era, Pelé did not have a true rival for the top spot in the world.

While some fans are comparing Mbappé and Erling Haaland to Leo and CR7’s rivalry, they will most likely not live up to the hype. Both youngsters are stellar players but they do not hold a candle to both Messi and Ronaldo just yet.

It is hard to replicate Messi and Ronaldo’s dynamic because they have been embroiled in a rivalry since they became legit stars. Messi was the upstart ‘little man’ while Ronaldo was the overpowering presence. They have a solid dynamic of an underdog and a player with solid star power and their fans have gravitated towards one star and are focused on countering the other side’s arguments.

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The rivalry has reached another level

Most fans think that the debate was at an all-time high during their La Liga days but it has exceeded that level now. Both players are still performing at a high level and their fans are more passionate than ever. Social media is filled with Messi vs Ronaldo debates and it might get tiring to some people. However, there is always a supporter who will turn up and restart the debate again.

This rivalry will not go away because both sides have valid points. For Messi, they will always point out his all-around game. He is not only a goal-scorer because he is also arguably the best passer in the sport’s history. His 2012 calendar year was probably the best individual year in football history which is a strong argument that his fans use to support him in the debate.

On the other hand, Ronaldo’s willingness to play in different European leagues is their main argument. He is not only willing to move around but he also won everywhere he went. That is a huge point in the debate but it can be countered with Messi’s loyalty to one club as a feather in his cap. However, since Messi left Barça because of the club’s financial troubles, he has the chance to buck this criticism.

Both sides have good points and that is too many to mention here but you should expect that this will never end.

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The answer is subjective

It is near impossible to be objective when it comes to the Messi vs Ronaldo debate. They play different styles and that will appeal to contrasting fan bases. Messi will likely get the fans of a well-rounded style while Ronaldo will get fans who love the pure goal-scoring style.

There will never be a true winner of the debate because both players are excellent and fans believe in their favourite star. You can try to be objective in this debate but you will stop when you realize that both sides have solid and irrefutable points.

At the end of the day, the debate will come down to a subjective opinion. If a fan loves Messi more than he likes Ronaldo, it will be hard to convince them otherwise. The vice versa is also true because you can’t convince them since they have their mind made up about the topic.

It is saddening that some fans are angry with the other side of the debate because there is one fact that they should agree on. Both players are all-time greats and they should be appreciated. The opinions of the fan bases should be respected because everyone deserves that.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA