A debate like this has never raged in the world of soccer since Pele was pit against Maradona— and has continued for decades, even when the two greatest living legends, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have surpassed them in every way.
Now the debate is: Is Lionel Messi the best soccer player to ever grace the soccer field in the modern era or does that mantle belong to Christiano Ronaldo? The debate has raged on for years now. There have been other players, who have been regarded as great sporting legends by one and all in the world of soccer such as Zidane, Pirlo, Maldini, Zanetti, Xavi, Iniesta and Terry but neither of them have been revered or have such a loyal following among global fans as the Messi and Ronaldo have.
A One Club Legend v A Serial Winner
Leo Messi and Ronaldo are different players to one another. They are different in both playing styles, soccer skills, physical attributes and career choices. While Messi was nurtured through the ranks of Barcelona’s youth system and eventually into the first team, Ronaldo was a youth player at Sporting Lisbon. It was there that he caught the eye of the legendary United Coach Alex Ferguson who brought a young Ronaldo into the fold at Manchester United. Under the pupilage of Ferguson Ronaldo saw himself blossom and announce him as one of the greatest soccer players.
He won the Premier League multiple times while he was at Manchester United and even won the Champions League against Chelsea in Moscow. It was then that Ronaldo was crowned the best player in the world. The following year, Christiano lost his crown to a certain Leo Messi, who had started to blossom first under the watchful eyes of Frank Rijkard and later under Pep Guardiola. The little Argentine made his mark in domestic football making his team Barcelona one of the greatest sporting teams the world has ever seen.
Messi held the title of the best player for a while unchallenged, until Ronaldo now at Real Madrid, bitter rivals of Barcelona in the La Liga in Spain won the Champions League. Ronaldo would go onto to win the Champions League again the year after the next (this year).
Has International Success Ended the Greatest Debate?
Despite both the soccer superstars enjoying continued success in their domestic club teams, on the international stage where they were heading their countries’ quest for glories wasn’t quiet going according to expectations. Messi had led his team to three finals in the past three years and has failed to win any major tournament for Argentina. This came despite the fact, that the Argentina National team has been blessed with sporting talent such as Aguero, Higuain, etc.
On the other hand, Portugal led by their talismanic captain Ronaldo won the Euro’s held in France this year. Despite leading an un-fancied Portugal team that was not expected to win the tournament by pundits, the triumph of Portugal captained by Ronaldo has added fuel to fire that Ronaldo has finally emerged victorious in his battle with Messi.
Fortunately for neutral observers with both of the Superstars refusing to call it quits on their careers at the moment, there is no clear winner of sorts and it seems only history will decide who the greatest player in the world was.
A Selection of Football (Soccer) Quotes
“I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that here are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.” ~ Cristiano Ronaldo
“A penalty is a cowardly way to score.” ~ Pelé, Pele: The Autobiography
“Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football (soccer).” ~ Albert Camus
“The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.” ~ Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals
“Football is the ballet of the masses.” ~ Dmitri Shostakovich
“The rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.” ~ Phil Woosnam
“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” ~ Lionel Messi
Once he’s on the run, Messi is unstoppable. He’s the only player who can change direction at such a pace.” ~ Frank Rijkaard
“If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way.” ~ Pep Guardiola
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