Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: Soccer’s Titans

By Tyronne Pruitt
Cristiano Ronaldo
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that every soccer fan in the world is thankful that they have been able to witness the greatness of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

We have become a spoiled generation of soccer fans, taking for granted two of the greatest players the soccer world has ever seen. People tend to pick sides when it comes to Messi and Ronaldo. But here is a message to fans around the world; you are allowed to appreciate both of them!

Ronaldo is a polarizing figure, with his brashness and borderline cocky demeanor that tends to divide his critics and his biggest supporters. The Portuguese International is the complete package with his rock-star persona and cover-boy appeal to rival his undeniable talent.

Contrarily, Messi is an Argentine International who has a workman like attitude and a calm humbleness about his achievements. With his “been there, done that” attitude, people marvel at the simplicity of Messi. Recognized by many as the greatest player in today’s game, you would never know it by his subtle demeanor.

After winning the Ballon d’Or trophy given to the best player in the world in his last season at Manchester United, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of €80 million. This caused a further divide between Messi and Ronaldo supporters due to Ronaldo joining Barcelona’s archrivals.

Even though Ronaldo has taken his game to a new stratosphere in Madrid, Messi has eclipsed him in accolades winning the Ballon d’Or a record three-years running. Messi will most likely win his fourth consecutive trophy, having broken Gerd Muller’s record for goals in a calendar year.

Ronaldo supporters believe this trend is due to the way people view his personality, stating Messi is a more likable figure, Messi supporters laugh off such claims.

Since Ronaldo’s move to La Liga, in four seasons he has won one La Liga title, one Copa Del Rey and has made three consecutive Champions League semi-finals appearances. In that same span, Messi has won three La Liga titles, one Champions league title, one Copa Del Rey and a UEFA Super Cup. One could conclude that the voting was heavily based on the performance of their teams and how many trophies they won.

Messi earned €41 million while Ronaldo earned €44 million this past season, including salary and endorsements. In 199 appearances for Madrid, Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 201 goals, which is better than a goal-per-game average. Messi has been equally as impressive for Barcelona, scoring 215 goals in 245 appearances.

Both players a coaches dream, they enthuse fans, terrorize defenders and epitomize superstardom. Equally possessing blistering pace and uncanny athleticism, they have set the standard for attacking soccer, and they make scoring goals look as easy as they do exciting.

Messi arguably possesses the best left foot soccer has ever seen, an accomplished dribbling maestro emulating the runs made by his compatriot Diego Maradona. Messi is the definition of class, continuing to set the standard for goal scoring and record breaking. Messi is the Mariano Rivera of soccer; everyone knows the ball is going to be struck by his left foot, nonetheless the ball ends up in the back of the net. Rivera has a similar talent; everyone in the stands knows the cut-fastball is coming but no one can hit it.

Ronaldo gives off that freakish feeling that LeBron James gives off when he steps out on a soccer pitch. How can a human being that big be so much faster and quicker than everyone else? Make no mistake about it, Ronaldo is a big man for a soccer player; keep in mind he is six or seven inches taller than Messi with equivalent suddenness to evade defenders. Ronaldo has the versatility to play almost anywhere on the pitch, having the ability to do everything at a world-class level.

Being the best and most talented are two distinctly different characteristics. Kobe Bryant was the best player in the NBA during the beginning of James’ basketball career, but James was always the most talented player in the NBA. Messi is undoubtedly the best player in the world, but Ronaldo’s ability to do everything in the final third of the pitch makes him the most talented. A coveted World Cup trophy is the only achievement eluding soccer’s Titans.

Tyronne Pruitt is a Soccer writer for Follow him on Twitter @TPruitt_454846, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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