Ronaldo vs Messi and El Classico encounters go hand in hand and will do so until one or the other retires. Both are football geniuses, no question, but who is the best?
At one stage I would have said Messi although he is no longer a match for the showman that is Ronaldo. Ronaldo has eclipsed the Argentine over the last year and done so with some panache. Guillam Balague emphasises the impact of Ronaldo when he said , ”know for a fact that some of the best strikers in the Premier League have been shown clips of what Ronaldo can do so they can learn from him”.
In Saturday night’s El Classico, Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot after Messi had earlier squandered a glorious chance to make it two nil to the Catalans. Small margins often decided this game and his miss would have made it two nil and really deflated the home players. That is not to say that it would of proved crucial because Madrid’s potency was there for all to see and they proved that they are a class above Barcelona in their current form.
This season Ronaldo has scored fifteen goals which is the combined number that Messi and Neymar have managed for Barcelona. He is more than just a footballer, he is an incredible athlete. Now some people will say that the fact Messi isn’t a six foot something powerful player makes him the better player due to his reliance on skill alone rather than physique. My viewpoint on the other hand is that Ronaldo’s athletisicm combined with the dribbling skill and finesse of a ballerina make him unstoppable at the moment.
I gauped at my television screen when Paul Merson described how Messi’s tendency to place the ball in the net rather than smash it in makes him the better player and looked on in astonishment when Jamie Carragher said Ronaldo needs space to be at his best. Did he need space for Real Madrid’s first in the rout at Anfield on Wednesday? I think you will find that Ronaldo was surrounded by Red shirts yet played a clever one two with Rodriguez and finished with aplomb. In both phases leading to the goal Brendan Rodgers could have perhaps asked his defenders to get tighter although the pace and prowess that encompasses the stars play meant that the ball was past Mignolet instantaneously.
Whereas Messi provides more assists for Barcelona, Ronaldo plays the ball quickly and bursts into the penalty area to finish. He is a number nine aswell as the orchestrator for Real that Messi is for Barcelona. The below image illustrates the point in case.
The below diagram goes further to emphasise that Ronaldo is the better player for Club and Country in 2014.
The Champions League is where the elite of world football bid to earn the ultimate crown of Europe’s best. Madrid had yearned for the Champions League and last season they earned it. This time around, Ronaldo has netted twenty goals in 13 appearances for Madrid and scores a diverse range of goals. Messi has scored nine from eleven matches and the niggling injury he suffered has resulted in his game changing slightly. He no longer has the turn of speed to beat one, two,three and four players as he did when in his pomp for the team in red and blue stripes.
Ronaldo teases his defender as if luring them into a false sense of security and then he strides, no longer is the marker in control and usually this ends with a goal or assist. He is ferocious in attacking corners and this is where he outdoes his Argentinian counterpart. Proving himself in England and then at Madrid reiterates the ability to adapt culturally to a colder country and a physically superior league. Yyes Messi’s loyalty to Barcelona is admirable and yes he will leave the club with the status that follows Carlos Puyol at the club,even though he may have a tiny bit of regret at not attempting the Premier League and proving that he too can do what Ronaldo did.
Adapting his game was a necessity for Messi and he has become the catalyst for Neymar’s form in a Barcelona shirt by providing seven assists in La Liga for the Brazilian. Luis Enrique knows that after Messi’s hamstring problems he is no longer the player that was described as a ”playstation player” by Arsene Wenger although he still dribbles with unmatched ball control.A different player, the form that saw him amass 91 strikes in 2012 and 73 in 2011-12 has never really returned. Messi remains remarkable in so many ways and seeing both on the same team would be remarkable. For now the sight of both on the bernabeu turf is a treat that the 400 million viewers will relish.