Why Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Balon d'Or again and become the greatest of this generation
This biggest footballing debate of this generation has been around who is the best player in the world currently. It has rivaled the divide between supporters of Pele and Maradona for the greatest footballer of all times.
You are either a Cristiano Ronaldo fan or a Lionel Messi fan. And if you are neither then you probably have been in hibernation for quite a few years.
The last ten Balon d'Ors have been won by either Ronaldo or Messi with an even 5-5 split. No other footballer has been able to even come close to the standards that they have set. Year on year they have been breaking all sorts of records.
It is very rare that we see two such world class players with absolutely astounding ability in the same generation going head to head against each other.
Till date there has been little to separate the two attacking maestros. Lets look at some stats over the last decade. Ronaldo has won 3 Premier League titles, 2 La Ligas and 5 Champions Leagues.
Messi has fared better on the domestic stage with 9 La Ligas but is slightly behind in Europe with 4 Champions League triumphs.On the international stage Ronaldo leads the race with 85 goals in the last ten years for Portugal vs Messi's 64 for Argentina.
On pure numbers there isn't much to choose between the two. But there is one discernible difference - a major international trophy. And World Cup 2018 will most likely seal argument against Messi.
CR7 won the Euro 2016 championship with Portugal. But Messi is yet to win a major international trophy with Argentina (an Olympic goal is not good enough). Russia 2018 is his last shot at glory for his country. And as things stand Argentina will seemingly not even make it to the knockout stages.
It is not as if Messi has not performed for his country. In 2014 he took Argentina to the World Cup finals but faltered at the last hurdle. He has arguably had a more talented set of players to play alongside on the international stage as compared to Ronaldo.
But with all the spotlight on Messi, Argentina have failed to play as a team while Portugal have made it a point to support Ronaldo to their utmost capabilities.
Euro 2016 will forever be the difference between Ronaldo and Messi. And that's why Ronaldo will shade it in the race for the best footballer of this generation.
Despite Real Madrid finishing a disappointing third in La Liga, Ronaldo will claim a record breaking sixth Balon d'Or due to his heroics in the Champions League and the World Cup so far.
All stats via transfermarkt