Would you rather have Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi on your team? We delve into the polarising debate.
Just when you thought Lionel Messi was running away with the conversation of best footballer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo once again answers the bell in the most emphatic way.
It’s hard to take away from what Messi’s done over the last few seasons, particularly regarding the 2015-16 campaign when the Argentinian superstar captured five trophies, including the La Liga crown and the Copa del Rey title. Factor in all the individual accomplishments during that season and there really wasn’t much debate about who the best player in the world was.
CR7 has since changed the conversation in a big way.
Ronaldo has saved his best performances for the Champions League — a trophy the Portuguese striker has won three times in his career, twice with Real Madrid. Most betting sites have Real Madrid as the clear frontrunners to repeat as champions, all because of Ronaldo’s individual heroics.
Ronaldo’s numbers during the 2017 Champions League season are remarkable, the star forward producing 10 goals and six assists in 11 appearances with Los Blancos. He’s picked up two hat-tricks along the way, tying Messi for the all time lead with seven Champions League hat tricks.
In 86 Champions League appearances, CR7 has scored 88 goals to go along with 25 assists. That’s 11 more goals than Messi, who has played four less games than Ronaldo. However, Ronaldo is the only player to score three hat tricks in a single Champions League campaign.
Ronaldo has netted five hat tricks in all competitions during the 2016-17 campaign, bettering his long-standing rival by three.
Both Messi and Ronaldo hold records other average footballers could only dream of.
Ronaldo is the first player to reach 40 goals in a professional league in two consecutive seasons and the first to net 50 in four consecutive seasons.
The knock on both of these star players over the years has been their ability — or lack thereof — to secure a major international trophy.
Messi was right there in 2014, guiding Argentina to the World Cup final before losing to Germany. Ronaldo would later get his chance during the 2016 Euro Cup.
Despite being injured in the final game against host France, Ronaldo still managed to rally the Portuguese players from the sidelines as he finally earned his first international trophy.
Comparing their international stats from a year ago, Ronaldo once again earned the upper hand with 13 goals and three assists in 13 caps. Messi netted eight goals and six assists in 11 caps.
So, which star is the greatest footballer to ever step on the field. Messi was at one point the clear-cut favourite to earn that honour, but Ronaldo’s heroics of late make him the frontrunner once more.