The Greatest Sporting Rivalry: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo


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People love to compare. From the days of Pele to Maradona and the reign of Zidane, the footballing sport has seen some phenomenal athletes. In our generation, we are blessed enough to witness two footballers who make the case for being the greatest’s of all time – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


Ever since both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played in La Liga together, the biggest debate in the football scene, or arguably in sports as a whole, arose; ‘Messi or Ronaldo? Who’s the best player in the world?’. There is no doubt why there have been such heated discussions to this matter, as they are both the most prolific goal scorers of all time. However, it is time we stopped comparing Messi and Ronaldo. There, I said it. How do we even begin to compare the two greatest of all time? People constantly result in comparing their styles and their personal honours. Cristiano Ronaldo is commonly seen as a more complete striker due to these physical attributes. He’s as complete as a striker can get, proven by his 2.56-meter jump last December to score a header. With his ability, he’s able to score all types of goals. Lionel Messi, on the other hand, is depicted as the master of a footballing skill in particular – dribbling. Whilst he may not be as well rounded of an attacker as Ronaldo, his dribbling and assists are captivating that you forget what he does less of and focus what he can do.


Both players are very different in terms of playing styles but statistically, they are hard to be separated. So when Ronaldo scores with his weaker foot or when Messi beats his five Ballon d’Or record, there is no need to bicker about who lacks what because both players are as good as each other in terms of what counts. The debate of who’s better has prolonged for longer than necessary, and the chances of it stopping after they retire are very low. With Ronaldo powering through at 35 this year and Messi at 33 in June, how many more seasons can we expect from these two? As football fanatics, we have to really admit that retirement for the two is closing in. With this in mind, we should be applauding them until the end instead of arguing – because who knows if the football sport will ever witness such a record-breaking rivalry again.



Giannis, and Míchel Acosta. “Leo Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo – Largest Statistical Analysis.” Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo. Accessed March 1, 2020.