After Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning performance in Real Madrid's first leg semi-final win over Altletico Madrid, one of football's age old debates has resurfaced. Who is better? Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Many will say Ronaldo is the world's best after his hat-trick last night, but those same people were saying the same about Messi after his magic in El Clasico a couple of weeks back.
Here, we try to outline some of the facts to see who really is the best and offer our opinion.
The two have had somewhat different career paths. Ronaldo, being the older of the pair at 32, made his first-team debut for Sporting Lisbon back in 2002, aged just 17. It was the following summer that, after playing Manchester United in a pre-season friendly, the United players told Sir Alex Ferguson that they needed to sign the young Portuguese star. Fergie did exactly that and after six seasons at Old Trafford, Ronaldo made a world record move to Real Madrid in 2009 – costing a reported ?80 million.
Messi, on the other hand, has been with Barcelona since the age of 13 when the Catalan club moved him over from his native Argentina. The forward worked his way up through the youth teams before making his first-team debut in 2004 aged just 17 and the rest is history.
Ronaldo's goal scoring progressively got better during his years at Old Trafford, especially after he moved into a more attacking role on the left, after initially arriving as a right winger. His most impressive return was in the 2007/08 season; scoring 42 goals in 49 games as United won the Premier League and Champions League.
But, the best way to compare Ronaldo and Messi's record is from their respective times playing in La Liga. In that time, Ronaldo has registered 399 goals in 389 appearances and Messi has notched 422 goals in 418 appearances. These are two, truly remarkable records, especially when a goal every other game on average is considered good for forward players, let alone a goal every game.
Add into the mix that Lionel Messi is the leading goal scorer of all-time, with Ronaldo in second place and then the Real Madrid forward is the leading UEFA Champions league scorer of all-time, with Messi second, it's easy to see why these two are in a league of their own.
With regards to awards it is Messi who leads the way. In his time with Barcelona, he has amassed a trophy haul that includes; 8 La Liga, 4 Champions League and 4 Copa Del Rey titles. Across United and Real, Ronaldo has won; 4 league, 3 Champions League and 5 domestic cup titles. The one thing Ronaldo holds over Messi is the fact he has won a tournament with his country, which came last summer when Portugal were victorious at Euro 2016.
Individually, the pair have dominated the Ballon D'or for a number of years. Since 2008, Ronaldo has won the award four times and Messi, five.
In truth, there is no way of defining who is best. The players' records are almost identical, both on a team level and individually.
It comes down to personal opinion on who you prefer and for us its Messi. The two will arguably go down as the greatest to ever play the beautiful game and we should appreciate being able to enjoy both.
If you want the opportunity to see either of them live on your stag weekend, then going to the Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabeu is an absolute must! For more information, check out the below links:
Image credit: Wallpaper Cave
Gifs via: giphy.com
Date Posted: Wednesday 3rd May 2017
Author: George Crewe