Breaking down the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate

tribuna.comIt’s a question that will probably be asked for the next 500 years by soccer fans all across the world. Who’s the better player, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Both have completely different styles of play, but make opposing defenders look silly time after time. 

When it comes to the world’s highest individual honor, the Portuguese star and Argentine playmaker are dead even with Ballon d’Or titles to their names. Yup, Messi has won five, while Ronaldo’s 2017 selection gave him five as well. Perhaps even more impressive, one of the two won the Ballon d’Or from 2008-2017. Croatia’s Luka Modric broke that streak by winning it in 2018 after a brilliant year with Real Madrid. 

PHOTO CREDIT: tribuna.com

So, Messi and Ronaldo are even there. What about international play? Unfortunately for Messi, his struggles with Argentina have been well documented. He was heartbroken after losing in the 2014 World Cup Final to Germany. Things only got worse for him in 2016 at the Copa America Final at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. 

With a chance to silence his haters, Messi and Argentina lost to Chile in a penalty shootout. Messi missed his attempt and was seen in tears on the pitch as Chile celebrated the title win. After that loss, Messi announced his retirement from the national team. He returned, but Argentina had a rough showing in the 2018 World Cup and were eliminated by eventual-champion France. 

For Ronaldo, he’s starred for Portugal on countless occasions and helped bring his home country it’s first major title a few years back, captaining the team to a Euro 2016 victory. Though Ronaldo left the final early due to injury, he was seen hobbling from the bench and supporting his teammates. After Eder scored the game-winner in the 109th minute against France, Ronaldo was able to lift the trophy high into the air. A lack of success with his home nation is something that will always haunt Messi, this is not the case for Ronaldo. 

Another advantage Ronaldo has over Messi is career goals, as he has scored 702 times as of this writing, while Messi is at 677. Even off the pitch, Ronaldo has Messi’s number, as CR7 has 189 million followers on Instagram. Messi is way behind with 135 million followers. Come on, Lionel! 

While the two have plenty of admiration and respect for one another, you know there’s always a bit of a healthy rivalry there. They are widely considered the two best players in the world, but one would surely like to think they’re better than the other. 

It truly is tough to separate them, however, as they’ve won five Balon d’Ors and even share the same amount of Champions League titles at four. Messi has won all four with Barcelona, while Ronaldo won one with Manchester United and three with Real Madrid. He’s now at Juventus looking to earn his fifth CL crown. 

How can you try and differentiate one from the other? It sure is no easy task. While Ronaldo may have the advantage in some areas, specifically his Euro 2016 title with Portugal, these two legends will go down as two of the best to ever set foot on the pitch. That’s a fact.