Messi vs Ronaldo, Jordan vs Lebron, two extremely similar debates that headline their respective sport today. Everyone wants to establish who the GOAT is usually followed by justifying reasons and arguments. In truth the debate is opinion based and there can be arguments made for both amazing players. The sole reason I believe it is easier to distinguish between Messi and Ronaldo rather than Jordan and Lebron is that both players play in the same era as Ronaldo(35) is only 3 years older than Messi(32). Also, they are almost the same age, have played in the same league against the same teams, and have had many incredible individual and team battles between their clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Before I give you my opinion and validating reasons for, I would like to say that our generation is incredibly lucky to be able to see the magnificence and brilliance of the two greatest soccer players ever playing at the same time. It is truly a privilege, and Messi and Ronaldo will undoubtedly go down as the two best players ever. Now the fun begins…..
To begin the debate, I would like to say Lionel Messi is already unquestionably the greatest player of all time and will be for a long, long, long time. No knock on Ronaldo of course, Ronaldo is undeniably the greatest goal scorer and most physically gifted player I have ever seen, but there is a big difference between the best goal scorer and best player, which is why Messi is superior. Ronaldo has a special ability to score a goal at any point, any time, and that's why he is so dangerous. He’s got insane pace and strength, godly footskills, a great right and left foot, and is a major vertical threat in the air. There’s no other way to describe him other than a physical machine, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down at age 35. Again no knock on Ronaldo, but Messi’s impact on the field is unmatched and second to none. You have to know where he is at all times and are obligated to have multiple people ready to defend him immediately when he touches the ball. He’s constantly getting double-teamed and triple-teamed, but it doesn’t matter; He’s unstoppable. He’s obviously not the tallest, not the fastest, not the strongest, but his incredible talent, skills, and feel for the game are better than any physical attribute could be. Messi’s GOAT status is simply backed by the eye test, stats, and other players.
Messi is easily the better teammate as Ronaldo has been known to be more of a selfish player who gets easily frustrated and has been involved in numerous heated fights and arguments with teammates.
Messi is the superior passer which is pretty obvious by his insane assists numbers. But it’s also the passes that don’t make the stat sheet. Multiple times a game you will see great passes that thread the needle between defenders that only one player is capable of making...Messi
Messi is also a much better dribbler. He doesn’t have Ronaldo’s strength and speed who will often drive at and beat one defender, but rather Messi just has the ball on a string as the ball never leaves his foot when dribbling. He is constantly dribbling through multiple players like they aren’t even there.
Messi is just as good as a goalscorer as Ronaldo as he has the same amount of club goals (626) in less games, and Ronaldo has slightly more total goals in over 100 more games played. Not to forget that Messi scored 96 goals (absolutely ridiculous) in a single calendar year, the most of all time .
Finally, Messi impacts the game much more than Ronaldo. Ronaldo sometimes is known to stay very high up the pitch and not work as hard while waiting for that one opportunity to score, while Messi will drop down into the midfield to pick up the ball and work his magic. He is more of a playmaker than Ronaldo as he’s constantly starting, assisting, or finishing a majority of the goals.Overall Messi is the more complete player and that is what defines a better player. He’s someone that can do it all that has no weaknesses.
Stats Numbers and Stats don’t lie….. Here is a comparison list of some of the most important categories:
Category: Messi Ronaldo Games: 853 998
Goals: 696 725 Assists: 306 220 Hat-tricks: 48 47 Ballon D’or: 6 5 Goal Ratio: 0.82 .73 League Titles: 10 6 Copa Del Ray Titles: 6 2 Spanish Super Cup Titles: 7 2 FIBA World Cup: 3 4 World Cup Golden Ball: 1 0 FIFA Best Player: 1 2 LA Liga Top Scorer: 6 3 La Liga Player of the year: 6 1 Champions League Goals: 114 in 140 games 128 Goals in 167 games (.81 per game) (.77 per game) Champions League Titles: 4 5 Champions League Top Score: 6 7 European Golden Shoe: 6 4 International Games: 138 164 International Goals: 70 99 International Assists: 42 28 International Trophies: 0 2 Total Trophies: 32 26
As you can see above, Messi leads Ronaldo in almost every category. Most of the categories that Ronaldo wins are due to the fact that he has played in over 100 more games than Messi and is three years older. The single blow on Messi’s resume is his 0 international trophies. He doesn’t have an international trophy but has led his team to the COPA America Final and World Cup Final. There’s only so much one player can do as he won the golden ball(best player) at the World Cup, and he won MVP at the Copa America. The Argentina national team has been a mess for the last couple of years which can obviously be seen as they barely played Paulo Dybala, a top player of the world and teammate of Ronaldo at their club Juventus, in the 2018 World Cup. I can admit that Ronaldo has had a little bit more of an accomplished international career, but because of all the other reasons I already listed, this is solely not enough to convince me that Ronaldo is the more outstanding player.
It seems as if before or after every match against Barcelona, a statement from an opponent’s player or coach makes headlines giving Messi the utmost praise often calling him a magician or unstoppable. Besides this, the amount of legends and great players that have said Messi is the greatest is unmatched, including players: Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Johan Cruyuff, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Pele, Gary Lineker, Roberto Carlos, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, etc, etc. It just goes to prove the greatness of Messi around the soccer world, and it’s even more impressive that he is 32 years old and still in his prime. I mean almost every legend of the game thinks that Messi is the GOAT(that’s got to tell you something).I got the privilege of seeing Messi play live in Barcelona, I just couldn’t believe my eyes sometimes, he is truly that great. I want to say that I conclude that if you have either played or watched soccer, you would be even more inclined to agree with me on my take. I’m saying that because if you sit down and watch a game, a soccer fan appreciates more than just goals, we appreciate the slick turns and dribbles, great passes, and stats that don’t get counted(along with the goals). I guarantee that if you sit down and watch a full Barcelona game in detail, you will be amazed at the little things Messi does. He is so great and has been doing these things for so long, that we have become accustomed to his greatness and sometimes overlook him. As this article was not meant to hurt Ronaldo’s legacy because I am a fan of his, and he is the second best player of all time, Lionel Messi is the single greatest soccer player of all time. Now, let’s enjoy their two magnificent careers while we still get the chance.