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World Cup 2018: What does Messi's missed penalty mean for the Messi-Ronaldo debate?

Shyam Kamal
ANALYST
Feature
13.59K   //    17 Jun 2018, 01:42 IST

2018 FIFA World Cup group stage: Argentina 1 - 1 Iceland
A missed penalty means Messi's name is once again among the news, and not for a good reason

I just had to do it, didn't I?

You had figured - no, you had hoped; you had grovelled and begged to whatever God you choose to believe in - that you would go one day of your existence without being subjected to this conversation. But here we are, stuck in the same rabbit-hole that has swallowed millions before.

It cannot be a mere coincidence that Messi misses a penalty a day after Ronaldo scores one, that too as part of a hat-trick. It cannot be a mere coincidence that Messi's team suffers a draw against WC debutants, while Ronaldo scores the first ever WC hat-trick against former champions Spain.

It has to mean something. It has to be a sign from the heavens. It must be a reply to millions of prayers day and night pondering the same question over and over again. It must be the final piece in the puzzle of who is the greatest footballer of all time is.

Some of you already know the answer to this question. You have shouted it from rooftops, and when it did not seem to work you made multiple accounts on countless social networking sites and spent your night time typing it out so that others could get enlightened as well.

Now is your time to shine. To show the rest of the world that you were hip to this scene long before them. That you had known this all along. To those of you, I bow in respect. You may not have to read further, as it is nothing you already do not know. Go forth then on your noble online battles!

Football: Spain vs Portugal at World Cup
In these trying times, people often try to convince others that their opinions are wrong

To the rest of you are here, do not worry. I'll help you figure this out.

The question: What does Messi's missed penalty mean for the Ronaldo-Messi debate? See what I did there? I switched the order of the names. Is it because it is important? What does this all mean?

Here's the answer: Nothing. Zilch. Nada. NOTHING.

All that missed penalty means is that Messi missed a penalty. This match has taken us no closer to the answer than the next 10 matches without Messi scoring will. This match has taken us no closer to the answer than if Ronaldo scores a hat-trick of own goals in the next 100 matches.

On further inspection, one finds that the premise of the question itself is wrong. There is no "best footballer", in the sense that there is no "best color". Some people like green. Some like blue. Some people like red, but this is no place to judge them. And if you are edgy, you think black is your favorite color.

In the same vein, people can like different footballers. I know it is hard to digest, but bear with me. Sometimes, it is possible to like - gasp - two different footballers from two different teams without feeling dirty all over!

Here is the difference between opinions and facts:

"Ronaldo scored three goals yesterday" is a fact. "Ronaldo scored three of the greatest goals in history yesterday" is an opinion. "Messi never scored goals as good as Ronaldo", no matter how bad, is still an opinion.

Opinions are the basis of society. Opinion is what everything rotates around. Without opinions, we will all be wearing the same charcoal grey one-sie and eating the same lunch every day.

Opinions are good, as long as they are not imposed on others. Opinions are good as long as they are recognised as such - nothing more than opinions.

So, ignore the awards that try to tell you someone is a better footballer than the other. Ignore the rabid fan-base that tries to convince you that one is a better player than the other. Ignore former players who swear one is the better player, and then tell you tomorrow that the other is a better footballer.

Besides, there is more to football than this madness. Football is not just Messi and Ronaldo. I am sure if you put in the time, you can find a third name. Not everything has to be reduced to this arbitrary argument that gets worse by the hour.

The next time someone asks you who is better - Messi or Ronaldo, refuse to answer on principle. Refuse to answer it on the grounds that you don't want to. Or, just shrug your shoulders and say "Actually, I think it is..." and drop a random name. It doesn't even have to be a footballer.

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Shyam Kamal
ANALYST
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