4 reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo had a better decade than Lionel Messi
- Messi and Ronaldo left an indelible mark on the decade. Despite Messi's individualistic brilliance throughout, Ronaldo had a better decade.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the greatest footballers of all time, who have redefined what it means to be an elite footballer forever. Though many continue to fervently vouch for Diego Maradona and Pele as the best footballers ever, the Barcelona talisman and Juventus ace have put in performances that beckon for their inclusion in the GOAT debate.
There's never going to be a definitive answer to this endless debate. But, in the decade that has gone by us, in words of one syllable, Messi and Ronaldo were the best players.
The Argentine and the Portuguese stars reached the peak of their playing careers in this period. They won everything there is to win with the club, while also becoming the top scorers for their national teams.
Between 2010 and 2019 the duo scored over 1,100 goals between them and won the prestigious Ballon d'Or on nine occasions, while also sharing the spoils at a plethora of other award ceremonies and establishing unimaginable feats on the field.
A glance at their unbelievable stats and impressive trophy count in the decade reveals that things were pretty much even between the two. But, is that really so?
Despite Messi beginning and finishing off the decade with a Ballon d'Or win and signing off for the decade with a 50-goal calendar year,it is Ronaldo who might've had a more successful decade than his left-footed adversary, contrary to what might be the popular belief.
So, without further ado, here are the four reasons why we think the 35-year-old had a better decade than his old foe.
#4 Unparalleled success at the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid
Time and again we had witnessed throughout the decade that in the UEFA Champions League, Ronaldo has been a different kind of beast.
The seven-time golden boot winner has a total of 128 goals in the competition, more than anyone else in the history of the competition. 107 of these have come between 2010-2019, making him the highest-scoring player in the competition's history in a decade.
Also on November 7, 2018, he became the only player to score a century of goals in a single decade in the competition, bringing up his century against his old club Manchester United.
Messi, on the other hand, fell just five goals short of the three-digit mark, with his tally of 95 strikes in the same period, which included quite a few worldies.
Apart from the goals, the Portuguese ace has also achieved more glory in the Champions League in the past decade than his diminutive rival.
On 26 May 2018, in his last outing with Real Madrid, Ronaldo became the first player to win five UEFA Champions League finals. It was a third consecutive triumph for the player with the Spanish giants and fourth in the decade.
In all of these title-winning runs, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was a force of nature, making the net bulge 60 times in the four campaigns proving to be the fulcrum of Los Blancos' unprecedented hat-trick of title wins.
The Argentine also tasted success at the continental event, winning it in 2011 and 2015, being the top scorer as expected in the campaigns. But he just wasn't as decisive as the former Manchester United star in fixtures that mattered. (See last season's second-leg semi-final against Liverpool)