Once we have Pele and Maradona comparison as who is the best player in the world. In 2000 FIFA Award of the Best Player of the Decade, FIFA had decided to award both for the best player where Maradona was awarded the best player with the internet polls and Pele via the jury and football pundits. The arguments who is the best player among them all time still raging on the football lovers and the pundits alike. When speaking of Maradona and Pele, they are one thing about them that splitting the opinion of the football fans as both had played in the different era where Pele is the king in 60’s and Maradona is the ultimate player in 90 ’s.
But in the modern era come another competition where both playing in some era and in some league. One comes from the tiny island in Madeira Portugal and another one come from the land where Diego Maradona is famed for Argentina. One comes from one of the great football nations which had become the world champion twice in 1978 and 1986 and another come from a country where is had seen the great player like Eusebio, Luis Figo, and many more. The player mention is Christiano Ronaldo from Portugal and Lionel Messi from Argentina from had been playing for the La Liga club Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
This 2018 World Cup may be the time where either one of them will lift the trophy as both are the captain for their respective countries, putting a performance that will live long in the memory of the footballing world like, and maybe both will end their campaign in a disappointment. But one thing that can be said is this World Cup will be last for both. Ronaldo is 33 years now and by the time the World Cup 2022 in Qatar he will be 37 years old and for Messi, he is 30 now and by 2022 he will be 34. Ronaldo will be older and while Messi depends on the outcome of the current World Cup will decide on whether to retire from the international football.
Instead of comparison let relieve the career for both players. Ronaldo started his career with Sporting Lisbon before he comes to attention of Manchester United player who had impressed with his display against them in a friendly where Ronaldo had made mockery out of John O Shea and the player of United had persuaded Fergie to sign him with he did with a fee of 18 million euro in 2004. He had made its debut with United against Bolton Wanderers in the opening fixture of 2004 season where he had impressed the English fan and media with a quick stopover and impressive speed. He was not accepted as he had been deemed as a show pony, skinny, and does not have any future especially after the debacle of World Cup 2006 where he is instrumental in getting Wayne Rooney sent off in the quarter-final and like David Beckham in 1998 he had become public enemy number 1 in England. But like his life where he had overcomes many obstacles, he had trained hard and hard and become prolific and in 2008 season he had scored 42 goals in a season where he had become a complete attacker where he had all the attributes of speed, long range shots, 2 footed, excellent penalty shots, and a brilliant header with a unique style of jump. He had helped United to win their 17th league title, their 2nd Champion League and help them to become the first English team to win the FIFA Club World Cup in that years. His brilliant and consistent had gained him the attention of Real Madrid on which he was transferred for a fee of 80 million a world record that time and, in La Liga, he had come to a direct comparison with another player Lionel Messi.
Unlike Ronaldo who had started with Sporting Lison to Manchester United and finally in Real Madrid, Messi is a Barcelona guy through this career. He is a one-club man like the legendary Paolo Maldini, France Baresi for AC Milan, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, and Ryan Giggs for United, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher for Liverpool, John Terry for Chelsea, and many other similar players. He had given his debut for Barcelona first team by Frank Rijkaard but he was injury prone on the beginning and under Pep Guardiola where his full potential had been seen where under Guardiola first season with the attacking trio of Henry and Samuel Eto’o he had scored goal for fun and helped Barcelona to become the first Spanish to win the treble in 2009 and become the first team to win six trophies in one single season in some years too.
Messi since then becomes from the player who operating on the left-hand side to the false no 9 where Ronaldo had transformed from the right winger to a center-forward later in his career. Usually, when a player had performed superbly in the first time or first year or in their debut season they are some considerable drop in their performance in the following season but not with these 2 monsters. Ronaldo had continuously scored 50 goals per season in 5 consecutive seasons where once he had scored a career-high 65 goals in one season and Messi had once broken the longtime goals scoring record of Gerd Muller in one calendar year by scoring 91 goals overtaking Gerd Muller 85 goals. Messi also becomes the first player in history to win 3 consecutive Player of Year Award where Cristiano Ronaldo become the first United player to win the World Player of the Year Award in 2008. When coming to European Cup honors Messi had won 4 medals which he had won in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Ronaldo meanwhile had 5 medals including the one he had won with United in 2008 and 4 with Real Madrid in 2013,2016,2017, and 2018. Ronaldo also helped Real Madrid to become the first team to won 3 consecutive titles since Bayern Munich in 1976 while Messi helped Barcelona to become the first team won the treble twice in 2009 and 2014.
Messi had won everything with Barcelona but the trophy with Argentina that had been eluded him for a long time. He had a Midas touch with Barcelona, however, when comes to Argentina he has been like a cursed when he had helped Argentina to be in the 4 major finals 2014 World Cup finals, 3 Copa America final in 2007,2015 and 2016 and he had lost all 4 of them. Argentina is still waiting for their first major honors since 1986 World Cup and 1993 Copa America and Messi is unable to deliver it that had led some Argentinian fans deemed him as he is giving his best only for Barcelona and not for Argentina. Ronaldo meanwhile had an edge on this as he had helped Portugal to win their first major honor when he had lifted the European Cup in 2016 and he had put a great display of leadership when coming to Portugal as evident in the first games on World Cup 2018 against Spain.
If Ronaldo had won the World Cup with Portugal he will be the first player from Portugal who had won every major honour for clubs and country which is impressive as Portugal is not a nation that had won any major honours before the Euro in 2016 and Messi will seal himself as one of the great players after Maradona in Argentina as his status will be elevated to footballing god in football-crazy country like Argentina.
Both of this player can be compared and the debate who is the better will rage year in and years out whether they had won the cup or not but their greatness will not be damaged by this World Cup and the footballing world will miss both of this player when they had retired as rarely the footballing world had seen both sets of player who comes from the same era, consistent putting a superhuman achievement and performance, and winning a large amount of winning medals with their respective club. The more fitting end for both of this player is when they had met in knockout stages or in the final itself of the current World Cup and one will joy and another will sad as their career can come to happy and sad ending depending on the outcome with their respective nation and for the football fan it will take another long year to see another great player emerge from some era and competing on who is the best each year.