The race to be the very best at the game of football has always been the target of almost every player who has graced the turf. Every player who’s had the opportunity to play for either one team or the other has always wanted to be tagged the best. So, they are always striving to win as many individual accolades, as well as team trophies they can lay their hands upon.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the two most brilliant players the game of football has at this generation too did not fall behind in this race. They fine-tune their performances and rise to win matches for their team time and time again all in the name of being named the best player at football.
This has now raised a kind of silent war among their fans who will not agree that the other person is better than their own. You will see football faithful all around the world arguing at the top of their voices that one is better than the other, even to the points of exchanging blows, or scalding words, in some cases. This now begs the question: which of the two players is the best?
The best thing the football fans can do for themselves is to sit back and enjoy these two brilliant players while they last – as much as one cannot be placed over the other, it is just to our benefits to savoring their brilliance while we allow them to do their thing. But if we must now say one is better than the other, then Ronaldo edges out his opponent thinly due to the following reasons:
#1. He is more determined
If you look at Ronaldo over the years, he does not seem to be bothered about what people think about him. He sets out his objectives, rolls up his sleeves, or better put, his socks, and give it his all to make sure he arrives at his destination.
No matter the pressure or obstacle that might present themselves before him, he moves forward. During the Mourinho era at Real Madrid, when the gaffer called him out for not being the best he can be even when it seems to Ronaldo that he was doing the best he could.
He continued to deliver goals, even single-handedly winning matches for Mourinho – something his counterpart has shown time over that he isn’t capable of. Any player or manager who lashes out at Messi is bound to be moved on because he is stirring the hornet’s nest.
#2. He has a better goal-scoring tally
When it comes to goal-scoring ability, who will not know that Ronaldo is made for goals? What makes the deal more impressive is the fact that he scores all these goals in crucial moments of the game – like during the knockout stages of the Champions League.
What is more? He scores different varieties of goals, like wonderful headers, long-range efforts, stunning volleys and astonishing acrobatic goals that put the circuses to shame. His incredible bicycle kick against his current club a few years ago clearly projects how influential he is in this respect.
At the international level, Ronaldo has more goals (85) internationally, compared to Messi’s 65. When it comes down to goal and the key moments they were scored, Messi does not even come close. Another feather in Ronaldo’s cap!
#3. More international success
At the international front, Messi still has Maradona’s shoe to fill, while Ronaldo, on the other hand, has surpassed every other Portuguese to grace the field of play and has been laying down markers for others to come.
That’s not all though, he has more trophies (2) than Messi, who has none. And when you compare their performances in the international team, Ronaldo has contributed more to his country than Messi has done. Messi is always turning his back on his country when the pressure gets to the brim; meanwhile, Ronaldo gives his all to make sure his country comes out victorious.
His contribution during Portugal’s run to the Euros 2016 final comes to mind. The team was almost knocked out in the group stage until Ronaldo equalized twice. During the final, although he was injured earlier in the game, he still stayed on the touchline to motivate his teammates until he made sure they won the match.
#4. Playing in Different Leagues
Here’s another point that gives Ronaldo the edge. To start with, it is worthy to note here that Messi’s loyalty to Barcelona is commendable, but that is not to excuse the fact that he didn’t want to leave his comfort zone and try his hand elsewhere.
Take Ronaldo as a case study, despite winning four Champions League trophies, including three consecutive successes with Real Madrid, he still did not feel like sitting back and savoring his success.
Although, he knows that if he had stayed back, he’ll be assured of European successes, but what did he do? He set sail and decided to go try his magic elsewhere. Do not forget that he is considered a legend at both Manchester United and Real Madrid,
#5. Ronaldo is A More Complete Player
Let’s face it! What makes for a complete player? Athleticism, strength, skills, and intelligence. Between the two football icons in question, who do you think possesses all these qualities? It is clear that Messi does not even come close.
True, he might be more talented with skill and match intellect, but what about other attributes? Ronaldo has them all in abundance – be it strength, he is there with the best. What about athleticism? His pace puts the fear of God into defenders and goalkeepers, and he is not short on skill and match intelligence.
To better put this in perspective, Ronaldo is good on both feet and his heading ability is incomparable, but Messi, on the other hand, is only very good on his left foot. What more is there to say? The Portuguese has the edge once again.
#6. Ronaldo Is Already Building a Legacy
The list progresses with this amazing point. Apart from his on-field brilliance, Ronaldo has, over the years contributed immensely to the lives of several people outside the field of play that his claim to being the best shall all but be seal in no time.
He is so philanthropic that in 2015, he was given the title of “World’s most charitable sportsman” and he is already funding a museum in his country that will display all his achievements in the game of football to the world.
Furthermore, the former Real Madrid man is involved in a documentary movie that is the title with his name to give us more insight into his fulfilling life. He continues to be a source of motivation and a great example for people to imitate in the society.
#7. Big-Game Performance
If you are still finding it hard to accept that Ronaldo is better than Messi, then this should do it. Ronaldo currently holds the record for the most Champions League final wins (5) and also the record for scoring in the most Champions League finals (3). What is more incredible is the fact that he managed to score at least 10 goals in every Champions League season that he appeared in between the 2011/12 season and last term.
Even in Portugal, he always scores his goals during crucial moments – like the time he equalized twice to make sure Portugal progress through the knockout stage during the 2016 Euros, the penalty shootout win against Poland, and the goal and assists in the semi-final against Wales.
Those are just some of the crucial moments that Ronaldo has dazzled us which much can’t be said of Messi. The examples are countless. The Portuguese lives for the big games and he is simply the type of p0layer every top team with big ambitions would want to have on their side. No wonder Juventus overlooked his age and splashed a whopping 100 million euros on him last year.
#8. Performance Under Pressure
It is a well-known fact that Ronaldo is a player who knows how to absorb pressure and perform to the best of his ability even when the going gets tough, but Messi, on the other hand, had shown time and time again that he cracks under pressure.
A good highlight of this is the two times he announced his resignation from the national team after facing embarrassing defeats, but later retracting the retirement announcement. Ronaldo never does that and never will. That is one thing that puts Messi behind in this ever-going debate.
Another embarrassing Messi moment to recall is his rants after the defeat of Brazil in the 2018 Copa America tournament. It is true that such a controversial loss is bound to pain but being a top sportsman, he should know better than to rant. What of the one that happened against Brazil in the Cop America tournament this year that got him banned by the CONMEBOL, Messi continues to freeze and act outside his normal standard whenever he finds himself under pressure.