Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
To say that the two of the greatest players of all time are not fading away despite ageing will be an understatement. The debate of which one is the greater between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo looks far from settled after more than a decade and the two greats are showing no signs of stopping down.
For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo is 34 and went to Serie A- a league known for being rough for attackers - for a new challenge. Despite settling into the squad quickly and racking up goals and assists in the league at relative ease, the defensive nature of Juventus proved difficult as the chances came less for Cristiano.
The biggest test came against Atletico Madrid in the second leg, who defeated the Bianconeris 2-0 in the first leg and managed to render Ronaldo useless. Till the second leg, Cristiano scored only one goal in this Champions League and was unable to be decisive in the competition he was brought in to deliver. But the Portuguese great chose the best moment to be ruthless, scoring a splendid hat-trick in the second leg to knock Atletico out.
On the other hand, Messi is enjoying another historic campaign like the last 12 years or more. His two goals and two assists saw Barcelona breeze past Lyon in the Champions League. He did the same against Sevilla a few weeks back, helping Barcelona come back from being a goal down twice as the Blaugrana won 4-2.
As a result of his phenomenal exploits, Messi has now scored 35 goals or more for the last 11 years. The consistency level of both these players is exceptional.
Moreover, football players are expected to slow down after they cross thirty. The answer is simple is because the movement of feet gets slower with time, just like the energy, the endurance and stamina of the human body.
To be fair, Cristiano and Messi are not what they used to be five years ago but they are still intelligent enough to turn back the clock and deliver the goods exactly when needed.
The debate between who is the greater will continue to rage on after decades because of the quality of the players. But it is futile really to compare the two as they both will be on the list of all-time greats when they retire.
How often they have earned the respect of rivals? How often they have shifted their tie in one's favour with superior performance at the highest level of football? The answer is uncountable and as football fans, we are yet to fathom the greatness of these two.
The consistency is rare even if we bring the greats of each era into comparison and it is crystal clear that Leo and Cristiano still manage to push each other's limits and thrive on each other's greatness.
Both Cristiano and Messi has a few years left or more, and the performances they pulled off in the span of two days will get rarer. As football fans, we should be grateful to experience their greatness over a decade and enjoy as the two greats of our era are slowly but surely reaching their end.