The current era of football is dominated by two players- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And even after these two giants are long gone, we will still be having debates on who was the better player- a testament to their incredible skills and their monumental careers.
They both have things they are simply the best in, and they both have things they are simply ‘good’ at. The two have no weaknesses, that is how good they are. Here are a few arguments for each camp:
Advanced statistics are in Messi’s favor
The statistics of both Ronaldo and Messi are simply unprecedented- they put them both leagues ahead of any other player who has played the game. Yet, a deeper look at these statistics suggests that Messi is a better decision maker, and in general brings greater value to his team.
Messi is a team player
Messi is not just a gifted creator and an incredible goalscorer; he also improves the game of every player around him. He brings his team together, and he keeps his teammates involved. The magician has more key passes and assists than Ronaldo, meaning he is much much more involved in the build-up than Ronaldo, who often just shows up at the end of moves to finish them off.
Ronaldo is a machine
Football has come a long way over the past few decades- the game is more athletic and more dynamic. While Messi may have more natural talent, it is Ronaldo who has aligned his skills with the demands of the sport. Once a winger, Ronaldo has transformed himself into an incredible goal scoring beast that can score all types of goals. He is simply a better fit for the modern game.
Messi has a better team supporting him
Messi has won more domestic titles than Ronaldo. And that is because he has had the better team supporting him. Under Guardiola, he had perhaps the best midfield ever in Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets supporting him. Ronaldo’s teammates haven’t exactly been bad, but they have not consistently have been of the quality of Messi’s.