Football and Cricket. Arguably the two most popular sports in India, are extremely different. While one game is fast paced and can end in 90 minutes, the other game can be anywhere from 3 hours to 5 days and test the players’ patience and endurance skills.
In spite of their differences, the star athletes of both the sports share some remarkable traits and characteristics. In this piece, we try to match 5 superstar footballers with their cricketing equivalents.
#5 Lionel Messi and AB de Villiers
Probably the two most talented players of their respective sports, Lionel Messi and AB de Villiers certainly have a lot of similarities with each other. While Messi can dribble, create goals, score stunning goals and even take breathtaking set-pieces, ABD can hit the ball to all corners of the park and he is known as Mr.360 for a reason.
Capable of creating breathtaking moments on the pitch effortlessly, both ABD and Messi are true geniuses and are considered the best in the world. Messi has proved himself playing as a forward, false 9, through the centre and even in midfield. Similarly, the South African superstar has also proved himself to be the best no matter what format of cricket you consider.
Despite all their achievements, skills and obvious talent, what makes these two supreme athletes so popular and loved around the world is their humility and sheer love of the game. Both Messi and ABD are once in a generation sportsmen and we should sit back and admire their genius at every opportunity we get.
#4 Sergio Ramos and MS Dhoni
Real Madrid’s inspirational captain and Indian Cricket’s team most successful captain always seem to bring out their best game in finals and finish games off well. While Sergio Ramos is fiery, Dhoni is known as Captain Cool. But what ties them together is the fact that they both step up their games and make vital contributions when it matters the most.
Who can forget Sergio Ramos’ last gasp equaliser against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final or MS Dhoni’s inspirational 91 in the 2011 World Cup final. Both Ramos and Dhoni are true leaders of their teams and will go down as absolute legends for their respective teams.
Always stepping up their games and one of the most important members of their respective sides, Ramos and Dhoni will go down as the two best captains football and cricket has seen respectively.
#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chris Gayle
The two most entertaining and effective sportsmen in cricket and football right now, both Gayle and Zlatan Ibrahimovic certainly have a lot in common. Ibrahimovic is probably one of the few footballers in the world who is loved universally, just like Gayle.
While Zlatan calls himself God or Lion frequently Gayle has a couple of interesting nicknames of his own like Universe Boss and Six Machine. The Manchester United man is probably one of the few footballers who when he is on song can take the attention away from both Messi and Ronaldo. Gayle, also on his day can be absolutely devastating. The Jamaican has ended quite a few bowlers aspirations and careers with his savage hitting.
What makes them most similar to each other is the fact that both can do absolutely crazy and unbelievable things and get away with it because only they can. To watch Zlatan and Gayle in full flow is definitely a sight to behold for any sports fan.
#2 Mauro Icardi and Murali Vijay
Mauro Icardi and Murali Vijay. Mauro Icardi and Murali Vijay! Seriously? Why would anyone want to compare these two sportsmen? Well not many would know but Icardi and Vijay have one thing in common which many people might not like about them.
Let us start with Mauro Icardi. Previously part of Sampdoria and team-mates with Argentine Maxi Lopez, the 24-year-old destroyed his friendship with Lopez after he seduced Lopez’s then wife Wanda Nara and ended up marrying her.
Murali Vijay also has a similar story. Team-mates with Dinesh Karthik for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy team, Vijay ended up marrying Karthik’s ex-wike Nikita in 2012. Both Karthik and Vijay were very good friends, but the friendship was destroyed when Karthik discovered that Vijay was having an affair with his wife. This eventually led to Karthik divorcing Nikita and destroyed any sort of relationship between the two cricketers.
Their personal lives aside, both Icardi and Vijay are fine professionals. Both are underappreciated and are definitely among the finest player in their respective sports for their countries. Also, both seem to have put the controversy behind and are currently key members of their respective teams.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo and Virat Kohli
Was there any doubt as to whether these two would feature? Arrogant, supremely fit, confident and most importantly the best (arguably) players in the world, both Kohli and Ronaldo have a lot in common both in terms of the way they play and the people they are.
Never ready to give up, both Ronaldo and Kohli have worked supremely hard on their skills. Blessed with immense natural talent, Ronaldo’s dedication and determination to be the best has made him the phenomenon he is today. Also, Kohli’s will to win and hunger for the game is unparalleled.
Kohli himself recently suggested that he admired Real Madrid’s goal scoring machine Cristiano Ronaldo. Speaking in a recent interview with the England and Wales cricket board, Kohli said:
"I take a lot of inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo. The way he has stayed on top for so many years, it's nothing but down to hard work. I have heard he is the most hardworking footballer in the world and that's why he is where he is.
Messi is a freak (genius) but this guy (Ronaldo) is giving him run for his money because of his hard work,"
While Kohli hits 100s for fun, Ronaldo scores goals for fun. Also, both of them are easily the most recognisable faces of their respective sports and it is only apt to end this slider with this comparison.
What are your thoughts? Can you think of any other footballers and their cricketing equivalents? Let us know in the comments section