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Ronaldo vs Messi: Who's the better footballer?

3.72K   //    30 Mar 2011, 01:18 IST

Ronaldo vs Messi

Messi vs Ronaldo: The debate as to who is the better player amongst the two is one of the hottest ones raging for a long time in football circles.  This article is not about taking a stand on who is the better player amongst the two.  I believe both of them are supremely talented footballers who possess different techniques and approaches to the beautiful game of football and are capable of influencing their teams heavily in their own ways.

To compare two players, people always turn to statistics, but I believe that the number of goals scored and the assists made are not full indicators of what a player is or how well he plays. The real measure of a player is what impact he has on the team’s performance, how good a team player he is, and how he can change games single-handedly.


Known in the media as ‘the most talented footballer on the planet’, ‘the next Maradona’ etc., this little magician from Argentina is synonymous with his slalom dribbles and lightning quick runs that leave defenders for dead.  The pure precision and accuracy of his dribbles are something no player can match on the face of the earth.  Messi is also a visionary midfielder who has a brilliant eye for a pass, able to find team-mates anywhere on the pitch much like Paul Scholes.  While his ball control, dribbling skills, ability to weave magic in close spaces and visionary passing are his strengths, where Messi fails is in his heading ability due to his short stature, a weak right foot and poor set-piece skills.  What he also lacks is the physical power to blast his way past stronger defenders, something which was demonstrated in last season’s Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan where close man-marking by the rock solid Cambiasso and Zanetti meant Messi couldn’t weave his magic.

The ability to dribble past scores of defenders and duck past tackle after tackle is a feat perhaps humanly capable only by Messi

A criticism that has perennially been associated with Messi is his lack of ability to shine on the international stage for Argentina, thus giving rise to doubts about the extent of his greatness especially because he is often compared to the great Diego Maradona.  But, he is still very young and has plenty of time on his side to prove to the world that he is a true great of the game.

A humble guy on and off the pitch who refuses to come to terms with his star celebrity status, who inspires his team-mates through his dedication to training and his craft, the little Argentine is an absolute team player and now plays at the centre of Barcelona’s three-pronged attack, after thriving on the wings in previous seasons. Gifted with lightning-quick feet, this is a player who can fly past defenders at the speed of light in the blink of an eye and coolly slot past the keeper to celebrate like a kid.


Ronaldo is the type of player who believes in using pure strength and pace to get past defenders and take that screamer of a shot which tears down the net and leaves goal-keepers stranded for dead.  He has his own set of skills and dribbles but lacks the precision and accuracy of Messi’s dribbles.  Where Ronaldo succeeds immensely is his ability to play well with both his feet (thus the ability to play on either flank of the midfield), set-piece skills to die for, outstanding ability to head the ball and possessing a monster of a shot in him.  The trademark aspect of his play is his free-kick: the ability to send scorchers that leave goal keepers stranded even from 40 yards out beaten for sheer pace.


The trademark to-die-for free kicks are what Ronaldo's play is synonymous with

Ronaldo is a perfect example of an impact player. Without him, well, I hate to admit it, the Red Devils looked weak in their attack. What he used to do for United, he is now doing for Madrid- with different players, but the impact is still there.  When opponent teams defend stubbornly, Ronaldo is the kind of player you can rely on to muscle his way out and take a shot on goal.  His extraordinary strengths also come with weaknesses, mainly the lack of ability to operate in close spaces.  Unlike Messi, Rocket Ronny thrives on room to cut past defenders.  What also works against him are his temperamental issues and the lack of ability to perform on big matches.  Though not a great team player, Ronaldo is a proven champion both on club and international level, a guy who a team can rely on to produce a moment of inexplicable magic and take the game away by the scruff of its neck single-handedly.

Now, when you have to choose which one you prefer, its more about what type of game you like watching.  If the sumptuous passing game of Barcelona is what suits your palette, then Messi is your man.  For fans of the English game who love the physical explosive outlook to the game, Ronaldo’s style is ideal to watch.  Regardless of the difference in their styles, what is certain is that these two are the world’s best footballers at the moment.

Which one of these players is your favourite?  Do leave comments.

Edited by Zico