Lionel Messi will always win over Cristiano Ronaldo

Published: March 22, 2013
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Messi has five league titles and three Champions League medals stored in his cabinet of legend. PHOTO: REUTERS

One of humanity’s greatest tragedies is our failure to remember what was. I say this while acknowledging the dynamics of an ever changing and evolving world that spares no second thoughts at leaving irrelevant ideology behind.

Any sports writer worth his salt has, at one point or another, faced the behemoth task that is defining greatness. The generic basis eludes most, so you’ll forgive my candid snickering at those who believe they have witnessed its peak. (I refer to a blog post that previously appeared in this forum.)

Ronaldo versus Messi is truly an argument for the ages.

Yet have we forgotten all that came before?

Did I miss the point where Maradona versus Pele had reached a final decision?

I was bemused to read the article categorically anointing Ronaldo to the throne. Granted it was narrowed down between two contenders, but let me start the real argument.

Lest we forget the greatest footballer the world has ever seen lives today and he never booted up for a Classico.

With 1,222 appearances spanning almost two decades, encompassing 1,152 goals with a meager yet unrivaled three world cup medals winner, Pele stands alone in the halls of legend. I say this with all due respect to the father of total football (Johan Cruyff) and in reverence of “The Hand of God” (Maradona).

Such at least is my belief.

Before we decide on what is and speculate on what could be, let us reach a consensus on what was.

Back to the article in question; the greatest debate of our era, Ronaldo versus Messi, will ultimately go to the enigma that celebrates international glory.

Should they both keep fit and play well into their mid-30’s it will be difficult to differentiate between the two just based on club forms. Both have proved that they are match winners, both have now stepped up at the biggest of occasions (though an argument can be made here for Messi more so than Ronaldo) and neither currently plays for a team that shies away from imminent glory.

When I say Messi is the superior one of the two, I will not pretend that my statement is derived from anything other than personal opinion. However if we were to venture into the realm of facts then in 510 appearances Ronaldo currently has 310 goals while Messi boasts 308 in a mere 372 appearances.

The goal per appearance ratio speaks for itself.

Ronaldo has four league titles and a Champions League winners medal thanks largely to his time at Manchester United. Messi has five league titles and three Champions League medals stored in his cabinet of legend.

Any Madridista who complains of Messi’s superior teammates should remember the word Galactico’s and cower in shame

International glory is feasibly, more an option, for the diminutive Argentinian than it will be for the Portuguese maestro based purely on the fact that Argentina has a better team. And have we forgotten that Messi is already an Olympian?

Ronaldo’s advantage, club wise, may materialise if he were to win a couple more league titles in perhaps newer pastures. If rumours are to be believed, the city of love may come a calling for the Portuguese heartthrob in July.

Plus – and here’s what most arguments fail to take into account – people like Messi more. He may be Ted Bundy reborn but the image he portrays to the world at large is that he’s a nice guy who loves the game and plays it pretty much better than anyone else at the moment.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, constantly finds ways to let the public in on when he is “sad” or “unhappy”; be it bedroom, bathroom or football related. People want not to like him and the results can be seen in what took place at the announcement for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

In truth Ronaldo probably had the better season from a footballing point of view, yet it was inevitable that the award be given to Messi.

Sadly there is no magical mirror or footballing oracle to call on in helping us decide this argument once and for all. This is an unending task assigned to greater men of the future.

For now it is our fortune to bear witness to this epic battle and bear the burden of finally making a call on that which was.

Read more by Shehan here, or follow him on Twitter @ShehanRayer

Shehan Rayer

Shehan Rayer

Former writing enthusiast turned journalist turned Radio Jockey; still a writing enthusiast and a Radio Jockey. He tweets @ShehanRayer (twitter.com/ShehanRayer)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.