Lionel Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo
SO WHO'S THE BEST?
HAVE YOUR SAY
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THE WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALLERS
But who's the best?
- ALL COMPETITIONS -
- LA LIGA -
- CHAMPIONS LEAGUE -
- OTHER CUPS -
(Copa Del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, World Club Cup)
↓ 2011/2012 ↓↓ 2010/2011 ↓↓ 2009/2010 ↓
- 2012/2013 - Ballon d'Or European Golden Shoe La Liga Spanish Super Cup
- 2011/2012 -Ballon d'Or European Golden Shoe UEFA Super Cup Spanish Super Cup Copa Del Rey World Club Cup La Liga
- 2010/2011 -Ballon d'Or La Liga Champions League Spanish Super Cup European Golden Shoe Copa Del Rey
- 2009/2010 -Ballon d'Or European Golden Shoe La Liga UEFA Super Cup Spanish Super Cup World Club Cup
- GOALSCORING -
It seems as if Lionel Messi breaks a goalscoring record every other week, such is his mindblowing knack for finding the back of the net. Last season, he became Barcelona's all time leading scorer at the age of 24 AND broke Gerd Muller's 39 year old record for the most goals scored in a single European season (73). Astonishing.
He is simply one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and will no doubt set even more practically unbreakable records throughout his career.
Watch: Lionel Messi 50 Goals of 11/12
Remarkably, Ronaldo tends to match Messi's ability to find the back of the net and can also be considered as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.
He has netted 7 league hat-tricks in each of the last 2 seasons and in the season just gone, he [along with Messi] surpassed the highest number of goals scored in a single La Liga season with games to spare. However, Messi ultimately won the battle to set the new record, with 50 league goals to Ronaldo's 46.
Watch: Ronaldo's 53 goals of 10/11
- HEADING -
Heading is one of the few aspects of Messi's game that is probably not widely considered as being a world class attribute; not surprising considering his lack of height.
He is far from poor with his head though and chances are he will punish you if he's presented with a decent heading opportunity. Many will remember he famously headed his team into a 2 goal lead against Man Utd in the 2009 Champions League final.
Watch: Messi's Top 5 Headers
For someone with such elegant skills and technique on the ground, Ronaldo can leap and power his head through the ball like a League Two centre back, with many of his countless goals coming via his noggin.
The fact that Ronaldo towers over the much smaller Messi makes it no surprise that he is far more effective with his head.
Watch: Ronaldo's Cup winner 2011
- FREE KICKS -
Messi's vision and creativity with a dead ball is what sets him apart from most free-kick specialists. His ability to identify a spot and a route to that spot that eludes all opposing players in his way is simply pure class.
He perhaps lacks the force that Ronaldo can get behind a dead ball, but it's the finesse that makes his free-kicks special.
Watch: Incredible Messi Free Kick
Ronaldo's combination of sheer power and ability to make a ball move in all manner of directions place him amongst the most feared dead ball specialists.
However, such is the power he attempts to pile into his free-kick attempts, a large percentage often strike the wall or sail over the bar.
Watch: Ronaldo Top 10 Free Kicks
- PENALTIES -
Messi's overall penalty record can almost only be considered average, having scored 20 from 27 as of February 2012.
Last season though, 14 of his total of 73 came from the penalty spot. However, he did fail with a few of his attempts, most notably against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final which would have given his side an aggregate lead in the tie.
Similarly to free-kicks, Messi probably lacks the power that Ronaldo can put into his spot kicks, which can be even more effective from 12 yards out.
Watch: Messi Top 5 Pens
Ronaldo on the other hand has an unrivalled record from the penalty spot. As of February 2012, he had scored 23 from 24 penalties for Real, which is nothing short of incredible.
Last season was a similar story for CR7; however, the one blemish on his otherwise spotless record came in a crucial Champions League semi-final penalty shoot-out against Bayern Munich.
Watch: 18 Ronaldo Pens
- SKILL & TECHNIQUE -
Messi has a near perfect combination of technique, speed, balance and intelligence which give him the uncanny ability to sprint into a crowd of players and come out the other side with the ball still at his feet and in complete control.
Whilst Messi isn't the fastest of sprinters, the speed at which his feet can move can seem almost impossible and combined with his abundance of skill, can often create the illusion that the ball is just glued to his feet.
Watch: Lionel Messi Dribbles & Runs
Ronaldo is king of the step-over and has plenty more tricks up his sleeve that, with the help of his lightning pace, can take him past defenders as if they weren't there.
Whilst Ronaldo's skill and technique cannot be questioned, he can be guilty of one step-over too many or a bit of flamboyance & showmanship that wasn't really necessary; sometimes costing his team possession.
Watch: Ronaldo Skills 2012
- PHYSICALITY -
At 5 foot 7 inches, Messi isn't the tallest of guys and in his younger days, was in real danger of being overlooked (quite literally) due to his slight build and lack of physical prowess.
Luckily (for him and for us), his breathtaking, natural talent shone through. And his size can be quite deceptive! He is perfectly capable of holding his own against his larger opponents and can pack some serious power behind his shots.
Physically, Ronaldo is as close to perfection as it gets for the modern day footballer. At 6 foot 2, he's got the height and with the help of his impecible physique, he has the strength of an ox.
Where Messi has the edge with skill & technique, Ronaldo makes up for with strength and speed.
- TEAM PLAY -
For someone with so much skill and so many solo goals to his name, Messi has a remarkable reputation as a team player and is very rarely accused of holding onto the ball longer than he should have done. His scoring record is obviously closely matched by Ronaldo, but it's the assists count that shows a clear gap in Messi's favour.
Messi has also won the Ballon d'Or award 3 years running, but always attributes the award to his team-mates Xavi and Iniesta, highlighting Messi as a very humble man for someone of his talent.
Watch: Messi 92 Assists
In contrast to Messi, Ronaldo has often been the subject of frustration for both fans and team-mates, often guilty of trying to do too much on his own when using a team mate might have been a better option.
Despite this issue, you cannot ignore the fact that Ronaldo's assist record is a very healthy one, although someway short of Messi.
Watch: CR7 Assists & Passes
- HONESTY -
Unsurprisingly, due to his lightning quick feet and skill, Messi is hacked at and kicked countless times almost every game, but where some players would go down, rolling around in 'agony', Messi usually does everything he can to stay on his feet and continue the attack. Even in the penalty area, Messi opts to stay upright, which says a lot about the confidence he has in his own ability.
This category gets a lot of criticism due to this being a comparison of footballing abilities. But if you watch the video below, you will see that where most players would unquestionably have gone down (including CR7), Messi goes on to score or create a chance.
Watch: 'Messi Never Dives'
Ronaldo on the other hand, has received much criticism for this part of his game, often being accused of going down too easily or feigning injury to the benefit of his team.
English supporters will most prominently remember his infamous wink in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final after Rooney's challenge resulted in a red card for the English striker.
Watch: The Wink
- CONCLUSION -
The final scores highlight just how close the battle is between these 2 players and just how lucky we are to have them both playing in one generation.
Messi dropped points mainly due to his physical limitations in areas such as heading, strength and power, but he topped his opponent on natural ability and technique on the ball, as well as his effectiveness on the rest of the team.
It is perhaps the initiative he holds on the latter points that has led to the more widely accepted view that Messi is the outright, best player in the world today, and in many people's opinion - the best ever.
Ronaldo has sometimes had to accept life in the shadow of Messi, which for someone of Ronaldo's talent and effectiveness, must be frustrating.
However, there is no doubting that since Ronaldo's move to Spain, the gap has grown ever smaller and now - certainly in terms of goals at least - there is a great case for claiming the 2 players are now on a par, or perhaps, that Ronaldo has even overtaken the Argentinian.
Whatever your stance though, there is little doubt that these 2 players are light years ahead of anybody else playing the game today, and will surely go down as 2 of footballs all time greats.