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Why the Messi-Ronaldo debate still rages on despite similarly stunning performances from the two legends

ANALYST
Feature
1.99K   //    Timeless

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014
FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014

The last two days in world football have seen a reminder of how great the legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is. In spite of the Mbappes, Neymars and Hazards showing off their skills over the last few years, Messi and Ronaldo remain a class apart.

Ronaldo, had to perform under pressure against Europe's best defense - Atletico Madrid. But not did he do well, he also went on to score a hat-trick against all the odds to send his team Juventus through to the quarterfinals, and Atletico out of the competition (maintaining your loyalty with Real Madrid, Cristiano?).

Meanwhile Messi also pulled out a world class performance at the Camp Nou in Barcelona's 5-1 victory over Lyon last night. He scored 2 goals and assisted another 2, to be named the Man of the Match (convincingly).

But despite both men proving their abilities every time they play, there is always going to be this debate between the respective fans about who among the two is better.

Ronaldo's side of the story

Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

Let's put an end to one part of the debate here. Ronaldo has been and will likely always be the deadliest option in front of goal when it comes to scoring from any range, in any form, with any foot.

His aerial abilities also help his team during the defensive phases, but the Portuguese star would be found mostly outside his own penalty area when his team is defending - purely because he can start a counterattack in an instant if he is already 4 paces ahead of the opposition players.

While Ronaldo might be one of the best finishers of the game, football has over the years definitely seen better play-makers than the Juventus player.

How many times have you seen Ronaldo assisting 2-3 goals for his team-mates consistently?

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Messi's side - and why he has that minor edge over Ronaldo

FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

If Ronaldo is a machine gun, Messi is an orchestra. Not only does the Argentine have an eye for goal, he is also instrumental in how his team's midfield conduct themselves, how the defense rely on the forwards to also join in during attacks, and obviously how the strikers get a loads of goals while the opposition are busy marking the Argentine legend.

Maybe, just maybe, Messi's overall contribution to the game gives him that small edge over his counterpart Ronaldo. But one might argue, and that might be a great argument, that Messi has played in only one team all his life, while Ronaldo has proved his worth in 3 different countries in 3 different and deadly football leagues.

Well, the debate still remains open.

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