Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the most recognized names in professional soccer, and perhaps the whole world of sports. The debate of who is the better player has been ongoing since the comparison of the two started in the late 2000’s.
Ronaldo, a Portuguese national player, started off his youth career in Portugal but became a star in the English Premier League with Manchester United joining the team in 2003. He later transferred to Real Madrid CF for a record salary of $132-million. Messi, on the other hand, is an Argentine national player and has only played professionally for FC Barcelona.
Earlier this week FIFA and France Football announced the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, which is the award for the best soccer player of the calendar year based on votes by soccer journalists and captains from each national team. Ballon d’Or, a France Football magazine award, was originally separate from FIFA World Player of the Year, but the two merged in 2010 to officially award the best player in soccer.
Although both players have their fair share of advantages, I believe Ronaldo is the better player, at this point, and more deserving of the Ballon d’Or award.
The two have won many awards (individually and with their respective teams), making them stand out from the rest of the soccer players.
As expected, the list of current greats includes other amazing players such as Manuel Neuer, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez (2014 Golden boot winner) and 19 other outstanding players. Ronaldo is looking to win his second Ballon d’Or trophy while Messi is looking for his fourth.
Messi had an outstanding season with Barcelona leading his team to second place (tying with Real Madrid) and scoring a second best 28 goals along with 12 assists in Spain’s main soccer league, La Liga. However, Barcelona failed to advance past the second round of the Champions League, losing 2-1 to runners-up Atletico Madrid.
While Ronaldo not only led the La Liga in goals scored (31 goals in 30 matches), he also led his team to its 10th title, winning best player award and top scorer with 17 goals.
However, when it comes to the FIFA World Cup, Messi is the favourite. He took his team to the finals but lost in injury time by one goal to Germany, while Ronaldo and the Portuguese team couldn’t make it past the group stage.
Ronaldo never made it far in the World Cup with his team, causing many to criticize his skills. However, he did have to deal with a knee injury that halted him from performing to his full potential in 2014.
Another argument that can be made against Messi is that he has much better players alongside him in Argentina than Ronaldo with Portugal, which have undoubtedly contributed to his success. Messi plays alongside players like Angel Di Maria, who led La Liga in assists in the 2013-14 season, and Sergio Aguero, who holds the record for goals-per-minute in the Premier league,
However, judging Ronaldo on his World Cup success, or failures rather, is not a fair comparison.
Ronaldo has started this season on fire, scoring an astonishing 16 goals in just seven matches. He was also recently awarded best player, best forward, and best goal by La Liga.
While both are world-class players who have won the highest individual awards and continue to amaze soccer fans, Ronaldo’s performance from the end of last season to the start of 2014-15 has been phenomenal, making him, in my opinion, the best player in the world.
He has proven to be one of the most dominant players in all of sports and can only improve from here on. He is not the second highest paid athlete in the world for no reason.