The Battle For El Pichichi: Messi v. Ronaldo

This is a guest post by La Liga expert Donald Wine II. He is the author of the blog “Life In 1-1-8,” which can be found here.

For the ages....

Better than Bird vs. Magic?

If you haven’t been watching La Liga football this season, you are missing probably the greatest battle soccer has seen in years.

I’m not talking about the disastrous El Clásico from the eyes of my beloved Real Madrid against Barcelona.  No, I’m talking about the battle for El Pichichi (top goal scorer).  The race between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the top goal scorer in La Liga has reached absurd levels, with both on pace to shatter every single season goal scoring league record that exists.

While players like David Villa, Gonzalo Higuaín, Roberto Soldado, Fernando Llorente, Sergio Agüero, and Luis Fabiano have scored plenty of goals for their squads the past couple seasons, Messi and Ronaldo have found themselves once again in a two-horse race for El Pichich.

Last year, Higuaín actually squeaked by Ronaldo for the #2 spot with 27 goals to Ronaldo’s 26, but Messi overtook all by tying the record for most goals scored in a La Liga season, 34, set by the original Ronaldo  for Barca back in 1996-1997.

This year, Higuaín was keeping pace with CR7 and Messi until he suffered a back injury that will keep him out of the lineup until February at the earliest.  The rest of the pack just hasn’t been able to keep up with the pizzazz, the panache of Ronaldo and Messi.

This season’s El Clásico is just three weeks away on October 10th 2011. It will be televised in the States on ESPN Deportes with coverage beginning at 10:30 AM PT.

In the past 2 years, while Messi has steadily risen from great player to otherworldly status, he arguably saved his best season performance for last season, when CR7 entered La Liga.

Tough choice, but I give myself the edge....

Ronaldo, already viewed as an otherworldly player that is on everyone’s short list of best in the world, looked to stake his claim as La Liga’s top player, and despite an ankle injury that kept him out several matches last season and limited him in several others, has really adapted well to the Spanish game.

Anyone can tell that the competition suits both of them, as each goal they score seems to have an “anything you can do, I can do better” air about it.  When Messi gets 2 goals in one game, Ronaldo seems to come up with 2 goals.  When Ronaldo gets a hat trick, Messi answers with one of his own.  With 17 goals apiece through only 16 matches, they are greatly outpacing Messi’s run last year to 34 goals.  As every week goes by and the goal totals of the two grow, you can’t help but realize that at this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when the single-season record will fall…and by which player’s lethal strike.

Both players disappointed on the world’s biggest stage, with Messi being shut out at this past summer’s World Cup and Ronaldo only notching one tally against lowly North Korea.  However, what they lacked for some reason on the international stage they have seemingly found so far this season.  They have sought to redeem themselves with their clubs, and in doing so, this season they have scored goals in impressive fashion.  Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s go-to penalty taker, and while a few of his goals have come from the spot, he has wowed crowds with his artistry on free kicks.  The best free kick specialist in the world today, Ronaldo has had some jaw-dropping benders hit the back of the net, fooling goalkeepers in the process.  With his success, he has carried the swagger that fans love and critics love to hate.  Messi, on the other hand, is a wizard in the open field, with several of his goals leaving even the biggest hater saying, “how did he do that?”  He scores his goals like Michael Vick scores touchdowns, with a flair and an electricity that is matched by very few, if any, in the world.

Not so fast buddy....

So, who has the edge? Barcelona’s open attacking style fits Messi perfectly, and he will continue to thrive in that offense with Xavi meticulously passing him the ball.  However, they have several great scoring options, and David Villa, Pedro, and Andrés Iniesta will also benefit from defenses trying to key in on stopping Messi.  In Madrid, while Ronaldo has not scored many times from the run of play outside of some garbage goals, he is the main penalty taker for Madrid.  He also has scored several goals from set pieces and though Madrid has brought it on the offensive end, most of the goals they have scored have gone through him.  Ronaldo will see some goals filter to Higuaín as soon as he returns from his back injury, but since he crashes the net, Ronaldo will see several more opportunities to add to his scoring total.

As the calendar turns from 2010 to 2011, will Messi and C. Ronaldo keep up the pace?  Will one surge, leaving the other behind to stare at the back of his jersey?  With the competitiveness and the determination of both players, this is a race we may continue to watch until the last whistle of Jornada (Gameweek) 38.  That’s fine by me…that will allow the fútbol fan in all of us to watch with excitement and amazement as these creative wizards of try to one-up each other with every ball they send humming past keepers all across Spain.

Addendum:

Note from the editor:

A few months ago we got this question from a TSG reader named Sean regarding the inseparable pairing of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

As it stands, there really isn’t a definitive answer for who the better player is. But one question that I haven’t seen addressed by anyone (and maybe it has been and I’ve just missed it) is how the two would perform if they switched teams. Would Ronaldo be as successful at Barca as he has been at Real and Man U? And if so, would it be a result of him adapting his style to the team, or the team adapting to him? Would Messi be able to fit in at Real, or would it be the rest of Real fitting around him?

I know it probably doesn’t get us any closer to an answer on which player is the greatest in the world, but it is a fun exercise nonetheless. (and for my money, Messi’s the better player, and would be more effective for Real than Ronaldo would be for Barca)

Donald’s follow-up:

It’s an interesting exercise to see whether Ronaldo would fit in better with the Blaugrana than Messi would with Los Galácticos.

Would it be because they would adapt their style to the team or because the team would be shaped around them.  There’s too many scenarios so let’s take the most basic one: switch the players and keep the rest of the current rosters.

My personal opinion:  Ronaldo would fit in better with Barca’s current lineup than Messi with Real’s.  Real would have to move di Maria to the left and out of his natural position, and Higuaín (and Benzema) aren’t strikers that can play back-to-the-net like Barca’s David Villa can.  Real, by placing Messi in his natural right wing position, would need Xabi Alonso to play further up, leaving Lassana Diarra and Khedira to play the holding positions and leaving Ozil out of the lineup, with di Maria out of position.

On the other hand, Ronaldo can play in Messi’s vacated right wing spot (probably his more natural spot) and would thrive with Villa and Pedro on the other ends crashing the netas well as serving as the main penalty and free kick taker.  He would also be the beneficiary of many Xavi passes that will set him up for scoring opportunities.  While Messi may be the more electrifying player in the open field, Ronaldo would be able to move into Barca’s lineup without any modifications.  Of course, that is a short answer for the debate and only briefly addresses one possible scenario for the two of them switching teams.

TSG’s follow-up:

I’ll note in my commentary here that I’ve watched about six Barca games on the year and five Real Madrid.

My short answer here…

Obviously both teams cater to their stars. Whereas Barca has a near perfect pairing of Xavi playing the Russell Westbrook  to Messi’s Kevin Durant, a system that has been cultivated years ago when Messi was plucked to play in the Barca academy, it took the power of the Special One to mold the team correctly around Ronaldo.

That said, I think Messi would be the more successful of the two however his all around game would be used more to set up the likes of Benzema and Higuain. I would expect him to have slightly less goals and more assists.

As for Ronaldo, I think his dominant game–he really comes at defenders with bold strength and skill–would take quite awhile to mesh with the fluidity of the Barca game. Ronaldo would be severely challenged to fit in and excel in Guardiola’s system.

It’s not an apt comparison perhaps, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a recent example of player that couldn’t adapt his game to excel at Camp Nou. I do give Ronaldo much more team ethos credit here–I remember his rat-tail and Sir Alex Ferguson pleasing days at United, but in a system that favors staccato two-touch passing and precise of the ball movement Ronaldo would struggle–just a little–to reach the heights that he is this season.

Your opinion?

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55 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/12/29 at 1:19 AM

    I wonder who voted for Pastore. :>

    Next up, Berbatov vs. Zlatan?

    Reply

  2. Posted by John on 2010/12/29 at 3:10 AM

    As great as Messi is, he is a product of Barca’s youth system and an astonishing midfield. In two years in a completely different league from the EPL, Ronaldo has caught up and matched him, dominating both the EPL and La Liga in a way that only a handful of other players in the history of football have. He does not have the benefit of an organized team – half of Real’s starting lineup has been purchased in the last two years – or 15 years of experience within their framework. And yet still he comes, scoring record goals and fostering magnificent plays for teammates who he scarcely knows. There are no Xavis or Iniestas on Real Madrid, but you wouldn’t know it from the way he delivers. When his teammates fail to step up and make nothing of his glorious crosses, he says, “Okay, then I’ll do it myself.” And he does. He excels with any lineup, no matter how new or jarring to what he is accustomed to.

    A better question, perhaps, is this: ripped from their team, what player would play best on any major team in any league in Europe? Who would adapt to Serie A, to Bundesliga, to Ligue 1, and, in Messi’s case, the EPL? Real Madrid is worlds away from Manchester United, and yet he scored 26 goals in 29 games in his first season. Moreover, while he has benefitted greatly from Sir Alex’s tutelage, he is not a product of the Manchester United youth system. Neither he Portuguese Liga, the EPL, or La Liga have ever really been his home, because he has none. He is a player who could very likely succeed in on any team in the world. The notion that he would not adapt to Barca is not borne out by what he has already accomplished. There are few more stark contrasts than that of Manchester United and Real Madrid, but he adapted seamlessly and maintained his form in an unfinished team. Real Madrid, for all of its past accolades, is, frankly, a picture of managerial and squad instability. It is the greatest challenge of his career. And it may be the greatest triumph. 5 years from now, Xavi will

    I have watched football for 25 years, and though there are players I would rank above Ronaldo for their consistency and longevity, Ronaldo is among the most versatile and natural talents I have ever seen. I honestly believe that he could play for any major team in the world, with virtually any lineup, at the standard he has set. He has already come to the league in which Messi was birthed and said “You’re not alone anymore.” Five years from now, Xavi will be retired, Iniesta’s talent will taper, and Messi will be forced to operate with a much less experienced, and a thousand leagues less amazing midfield. He will, quite simply, be forced to cope with what Ronaldo and every other forward already does – less than perfection. Time will only tell to what extent he succeeds, but I have little doubt of where Ronaldo will be. At the top of whatever team and league are fortunate to have them, making magic out of shambles and thin air.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/29 at 7:46 AM

      Dude, I inspired a column! Good times!

      Anyway. Iniesta’s 26, Xavi’s 30, Busquets is 22 (holy nuts, he’s 5 months younger than me). I think that there is a lack of faith in Barca’s system to develop more elite players as time goes on. They have (and I don’t think that you can make an argument here) the best midfielders in the world, and they’ve had elite level talent for what, four generations of players now?

      If Xavi or Iniesta does fall off form due to age or injury, yes, Barca’s system doesn’t go anywhere near as well, but they will find players – most likely within their own system – who can step into that role. I doubt we’ll ever see two players like Xavi and Iniesta with such ridiculous completion percentages, but at the same time, this team can still function with someone who possesses 90% of the genius that those two have.

      And don’t forget that Cesc is still with Arsenal. Do you really think that he doesn’t eventually wind up with Barca?

      Reply

  3. Posted by Rajesh on 2010/12/29 at 3:47 AM

    Good article, but it is incomplete as you dont mention about the number of assists made by Messi. He leads la liga for assists and had double the number of assists than even Xavi.
    On switching teams, Ronaldo’s and Barca’s form might dip actually as Ronaldo is not that great in his build up play. If you can see Messi plays a very important role in this aspect with Barca and with all his indiviudal skills, Ronaldo will feel slightly short as a simple ball passer.
    It is a privilage to watch these players. Have world football every witnessed two players like this.

    Reply

    • Posted by Blazindw on 2010/12/29 at 1:35 PM

      This is true that I left out assists, but it’s because El Pichichi doesn’t take assists into account, just the goals. In highlighting the race to see who wins, El Pichichi, discussing goalscoring made sense.

      Reply

  4. Posted by sunil on 2010/12/29 at 4:59 AM

    hey try putting messi in epl and then we’ll talk.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Shiraz on 2010/12/29 at 7:00 AM

    If Messi joined Man u he would not be one of the greatest players in the world, Ronaldo was. Ronaldo can play for any team and be magical, weather its the EPL, Primera Division, Bundesliga or Seria A. He is the best he creates his own chances he is the best penalty taker, in his six years for united he missed three penalties and he was thier main taker. His freekicks are out of this world ( against portsmouth need I say more). Messi yes more assist but Ronaldo put the ball in the box but theres noone to finish it, so he does it himself unlike messi who requires others Ronaldo can do it by himself or with a team whatever the teams ability.

    Reply

    • Posted by Dax on 2010/12/29 at 7:20 AM

      Unless Messi plays in other leagues how can some one assume he would not do well in other leagues

      Reply

    • Posted by Massoud on 2010/12/31 at 9:59 PM

      If you also put Zidane at his best in the EPL, he wouldn’t have shine like ronaldo, Because Zidane plays football, not rugby.
      In the EPL you don’t need to have talent to shine, you just have to be Physically fit and run like a headless chicken 90 mins.

      Reply

  6. As little as I like Cristiano Ronaldo for all his pouting and whining, I do have to admit that I think he would transition to different teams and leagues much easier than Messi.

    On the simple team swapping example:
    – Barca and Ronaldo might have a dip in form as they figure each other out but his directness would add another dimension to the Barca attack, which I think would make them a scarier proposition. Also, his style of play wouldn’t mesh immediately but the way Barca support each other and move off the ball his failed forrays would be compensated by teammates picking up the slack.

    – Messi on Madrid would take slightly longer to “work” and most likely take some retooling of the squad. With Messi often checking a little deeper to receive the ball I don’t see a forward of Higuain’s style sticking around for very long (granted the few times I’ve caught Real he was operating more as a penalty box predator). I’d think the Special One would look for a speedier option up top and use Alonso and Ozil in bucket midfield, spraying the ball around to Messi, Speedy Gonzalez, and some inverted wingers while Sergio Ramos and Arbeloa/Albiol overlapping. Sure there’s not as much defensive coverage, but Offense is the new Defense.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/12/29 at 7:06 AM

      Agree on your 1st statement Nick…I think that cohesion and fluidity are the ultimate at Barca and plugging in a Ronaldo to a different league would be easier for Ronaldo to shine immediately.

      Reply

  7. Something I heard Ray Hudson talking about during the Barca Espanyol game: El Pichichi is handed out by the publication Marca (not sure if I spelled that correctly), not the entire press, and not the league. There is some grumbling because Marca gave CRon credit for a goal that deflected off of Pepe’s head, even though I don’t believe he was credited with the goal by the referee. This tinge of conspiracy theory will only make this race to the finish more exciting if they can both keep it up.

    Reply

    • Posted by Blazindw on 2010/12/29 at 1:33 PM

      Nick, you’re right. Marca does present the award. However, I do believe they go by the official statistics kept by the league and not internal statistics in giving out the award.

      Reply

      • Granted what I mention above is second hand information I got from Ray via the TV, but it appears this time Marca is marching to a different drummer.

        Reply

  8. Posted by dude on 2010/12/29 at 7:10 AM

    Both were screwed by their coaches in the world cup. I mean, playing Messi in the center (his frame and technique weren’t designed to run through walls). Ronaldo? The entire team lazily dumped all the offensive responsibility on his shoulders and played bunker ball. This season has been fun, though.

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  9. Would Ronnie have tactical discipline or do the off the ball work required in the Barca system? Especially the pressing? I doubt it. It’s part of the reason why Zlatan Ibrahimović didn’t quite work out.

    Reply

  10. Posted by milkshaikh on 2010/12/29 at 7:28 AM

    cr7 is da best in the world no1 can match his footings even messi cant cuz if messi scored 34 goals so he got half of them as pieces of cake…we should end dis argument cuz this is da reality…cr7 da best in da world:)

    Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/30 at 2:17 AM

      Ronaldo is vastly superior to Messi in two categories: headers and free kicks. I don’t think many would argue that.

      However – Messi is possibly the best passing forward in the game. I’ve watched countless highlights of him finding teammates with gorgeous passes that require both amazing touch and otherworldly vision (sorry, I’m channeling Ray Hudson at the moment). If someone knows of another attacker who not only creates as well as Messi – I’d find the highlights but all you have to do is Youtube “Messi passing” – then please, show them to me.

      As for “piece of cake goals”…if anything, the man creates most of those tap-in goals that he gets. Watch him use one of his teammates as what is essentially a racquetball wall, just passing and moving, passing and moving, until he slips his defender and has the goalie completely befuddled.

      …and c’mon. Please, use some proper punctuation.

      Reply

  11. Posted by DC Lyfe on 2010/12/29 at 8:00 AM

    Ronaldo is extravagantly gifted. Sublime technique. Fast. Strong. Tall. He really has it all.

    Except…in his constitution. Call it mental. Call it character. Ronaldo’s problem is his disposition.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love watching the preposterous peacock preening, the pouting for fouls real and imagined. It is marvelous entertainment.

    Am I saying selfishness and narcissism make a player worse? Not at all. Great sportsmen are often self-absorbed idiots. And Ronaldo’s fantastic talent in effect compensates Real Madrid for the drag that is his character.

    Ronaldo is yet young. Who knows, he may yet cover himself in glory. Were I a manager, I’d take Messi in a heartbeat.

    Reply

    • Posted by ed on 2011/01/01 at 2:04 AM

      Let’s not forget that Eto’o, the most effective forward of all times, was discredited and released simply because Guardiola wanted more space for Messi to shine.

      For this reason alone I can never be a Barca fan. To give Messi accolades while not including Ronaldo in the ballon d’or final two is just another reason.

      Messi’s on the ball skill are absolute top notch, maybe even reaching Pele. In all other aspects Ronaldo is better.

      Reply

  12. Posted by John on 2010/12/29 at 9:07 AM

    Ronaldo dives/cries/moans/tantrums like a 2 year old after inhaling a pixi stick tube.

    Messi typically does not.

    Even if Messi didn’t score as many goals, the fact that I don’t have to watch him throwing a tantrum on the pitch means he is the better player.

    Reply

  13. Posted by ivan on 2010/12/29 at 1:39 PM

    Seems like this article is biased to bring Ronaldo at the level of Messi (maybe that way it gets more interesting?).
    Guys, even the total goal count is the same, Messi is winning the goal scoring competition if you DO NOT COUNT PENALTY KICKS. That is a more fair way of seeing it. Many of the Barcelona penalty kicks happened because Messi was fouled but Messi did not kick most of the penalties, giving his partners the opportunity to score.

    Also, Messi has many more assists than Ronaldo. So, in terms of effectiveness, there you have it. Messi is having a better season.

    Messi did not have a bad world cup. His team was not well assembled. He played well, sometimes sublimely well, he just did not score but he was very close several times!. Just watch the games again to verify this.

    Ronaldo is better at free quicks and probably head-shots and he is a wonderful player overall, deserving to be on top of the rest except when Mr. Messi is around. By the way, these two players would be great in any era. I say this after following the careers of Platini, Zidane, Zico, Maradona, the great Brazilian Ronaldo, Cruiff, etc.

    Messi is one of the greatest players ever. Enjoy him while his career lasts. Also, enjoy Ronaldo another fantastic player just slightly surpassed by Messi.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jon on 2010/12/29 at 7:22 PM

      So all of a sudden penalty kicks don’t count? So what about we stop counting goals from the penalty spot or close? I’m pretty sure Ronaldo wins that one by a mile. It’s funny how Messi has racked up a ton of goals for the past few years because of easy tap-ins from inside the box yet this year Ronaldo is doing the same and it’s frowned upon. Do you people not realize that Messi won the Ballon D’or doing exactly that? How many goals did he score in the World Cup when his team’s lack of playmakers didn’t allow him any through ball breakaways or passages into the box? Pretty sure it resulted in a bunch of weak shots from outside the box that were easily palmed away for corners by below average goalkeepers from below average national teams.

      Reply

      • Posted by Onion Knight on 2010/12/30 at 1:03 AM

        *sigh* Please watch the following videos.

        Ronaldo’s 42 Goals (2007-08)

        Messi’s 38 (2008-09)

        Ronaldo’s 26 (2008-09)

        Messi’s 47 (2009-10)

        Ronaldo’s 33 (2009-10)

        I hope you’d realize after watching these that, no, Ronaldo hasn’t just started scoring tap-ins this year. The very same criticism you level at Messi, that the majority of his goals are tap-ins from great passing by his teammates, applies perfectly well to Ronaldo too. As to your World Cup comment, I’m not even sure why it was brought up. Messi did have a not-so-good World Cup, but I dare you to bring up the argument that Ronaldo’s was any better.

        Reply

        • Posted by Onion Knight on 2010/12/30 at 5:50 AM

          Sorry. I forgot to provide a link on the video of Messi’s 47-goal season :^D

          Here it is:

          Reply

    • Posted by ed on 2011/01/01 at 2:10 AM

      Disagree – Messi may be more ‘mamma’s darling’, but he has too many deficiencies to be that highly ranked.

      His ability to walk through defenses is amazing and unique, indeed.

      But if you have to admit that your competitor, Ronaldo, is better at this, and at that, and also at this or that, and even this – your argument weakens.

      It is a matter of preference, but I go with Sir Alex’s opinion, who rates Ronaldo a street ahead of all the others, including Messi.

      Reply

    • Posted by mafer on 2011/01/01 at 3:48 PM

      Messi did not give his teammates the opportunity to score on penalties out of the kindness of his heart. He is not very good at penalties so he does not take them. There is a difference between self-sacrifice and allowing someone who is better at pk’s than you to take the shot

      Reply

  14. [...] The Battle For El Pichichi: Messi v. Ronaldo This is a guest post by La Liga expert Donald Wine II. He is the author of the blog “Life In 1-1-8,” which can be [...] [...]

    Reply

  15. Posted by Jon on 2010/12/29 at 7:18 PM

    I’ve literally stopped comparing the two because it’s nearly impossible to do it until Messi shows he can play with another team. Throughout his career, he’s had the luxury of playing with the likes of Eto’o, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Ibra (albeit for a short time), Deco, Ronaldinho, etc. who will all likely by legends when they hang up the boots. Who has Ronaldo played with – Rooney, Higuain, Benzema? Di Maria and Ozil for a third of a season? those lists aren’t even comparable, nevermind the lack of playmakers on Ronaldo’s side. The way I see it, Messi plays better because he is in the absolute perfect situation he could possibly be in with Barcelona. He fits in perfectly with his teammates, the team’s style of play and the league’s style of play. If you put Messi on a team like United, would he be able to handle the physicality of the league and the lack of a legitimate playmaker? Probably not. With Argentina he’s shown that he isn’t as good with a poor midfield despite having amazing strikers like Tevez, Higuain, Milito and Aguero up front. Ronaldo has played with world class playmakers like Figo, Rui Costa and Deco for Portugal yet as it stands, all three have retired and Ronaldo is producing quite well for Portugal without them. In my opinion Ronaldo is the literal better player with the better skillset whereas Messi will be the “better” player because of the position he’s in.

    Reply

  16. Posted by x-Wip3ou7HD-x on 2010/12/29 at 8:29 PM

    Well my point of view is messi only good because of xavi passes, reason y is because all he really got to do is kick in the goal , messi cant shoot far, cant head goal, cant free kick but he can run, dribble , shoot close and Awesome stamina, ronaldo awesome in everything but messi got speed dribble skill and ronaldo cant top that, messi join other team for example in man u he wont do Good reason y he basicly spain liga is passing league and england not…….. So who beter….? YOU CHOOSE

    Reply

  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/29 at 11:38 PM

    My only critique of Ronaldo is his utter selfishness. I know that ‘all great offensive players are selfish – that’s what makes them great’ and all that. But how many times do you see Ronaldo shooting from all-sorts of *stupid* positions when his ego gets the better of him – especially when his team are losing – regardless of teammates being wide open for a pass, closer to goal?

    He is a proper see-you-next-tuesday.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/30 at 1:42 AM

      I’ve gotta agree with this. While I’m colored towards Messi mainly because Ronaldo appears to represent everything my country dislikes about the beautiful game (the diving, the whining, the prima donna pouting, and so on), the Ronaldo highlight that keeps coming back to me is that masterful strike from three years back that he took against from what, 43 yards out? Admittedly, the ball went in, and it was one of those shots where you realize from the moment the ball left his foot that the keeper had no chance…but what in the name of Johan Cruyff possessed him to take a rip from that far out?

      Yes, on this site many of us laud Clint Dempsey for having the stones to take a shot from outside the 18 when no one else on the USMNT seems to be willing to do so…but plays like that are so audacious that they have to stem from overconfidence and narcissism. I don’t really think it can be argued otherwise.

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      • Posted by ed on 2011/01/01 at 2:13 AM

        But don’t forget that Ronaldo is the first on the pitch and the last to leave in every trainings session.

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    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/30 at 1:43 AM

      *took against FC Porto*

      Reply

  18. Posted by CR74ever on 2010/12/30 at 11:36 AM

    Dude for everybody that would take c.ronaldo over messi read carefully. C.ronaldo is a legend we all know that he is also the best two footed striker and midfielder after the original ronaldo as of messi he is only good with his left foot. C.ronaldo is also the best freekick taker and penalty taker. I barely see messi take a freekick or a penalty kick. C.ronaldo is a physical player like he was back in Sporting and Man united. Messi is a wussie who plays like a girl. Dont forget that C.ronaldo was a $100million dollar transfer. Try to transfer messi EPL wont even buy him for $30million. Basically what I am trying to say here is C.ronaldo is a natural born magician and god given gift who will be in the first page of futbol history. The talents and gifts that he has messi is not even close to it. The only reason why messi makes goals is because of the barca team. People should not compare players based on how many goals they make a season they should look at the talent. When C.ronaldo was in EPL he used to make 45-50 goals a season and it was physical game. I bet if messi goes to EPL he wont have 10 in a season cuz EPL is physical and Laliga is technical. Now would you have a player who can play physical and technical or just one? we all know messi can pass and make those little short distance goals but can he make a 40yard free kick like C.ronaldo when the game is on the line? Who would you rather have when its 90mins and you get a freekick on the 40yrd line? The only reason why messi has 27 goals this season is because of his team as C.ronaldo he takes the ball from half field by himself and scores. Takes a penalty kick and scores takes a free kick and scores. C.ronaldo can do everything and can play anywhere on the field can messi do that? I dont think so.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/12/30 at 3:06 PM

      How about throwing a paragraph and some cohesion in there next time.

      Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/30 at 3:23 PM

      “Takes the ball from half field by himself and scores”

      …yeah, that’s also called being a complete ballhog.

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/12/30 at 4:06 PM

      45-50 goals a season? How many seasons or was it just the one? And as far as I remember, Ronaldo isn’t as two footed as you make him out to be. And remember, a certain other little Argentinean ‘only had a left foot’…

      And just because a player was bought for X, doesn’t mean he was worth X – all it means is that the buying club were prepared to pay X. Remember Juan Sebastian Veron and Andrei Shevchenko’s transfer fees?

      And for somebody who can’t head the ball, I must’ve seen a hologram in the CL Final. I could’ve sworn I saw Messi score… with his head.

      Reply

      • Posted by ed on 2011/01/01 at 2:17 AM

        Yes, and that other little Argentinian was definitely not as good as Pele was.

        Same problem here:

        Ronaldo has all the skills; Messi has one supreme skill, speed dribble, and that’s it.

        Reply

      • Posted by mafer on 2011/01/01 at 3:53 PM

        You cannot use the CL header as proof that he is good at headers. Scoring a header once or once in a while does not make you good at them. It just means for that moment you got lucky. To be good at something you must have a level of consistency which Messi does not have with headers.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/01/02 at 7:28 AM

          Fair point. But how many does he miss? Barcelona mainly play the ball on the deck, as height is not a gift of his…

          Reply

  19. [...] Poll Results: Real Madrid Ace Cristiano Ronaldo Voted 2010-11 La Liga …Goal.com IndiaThe Battle For El Pichichi: Messi v. RonaldoThe Shin [...]

    Reply

  20. Posted by Miguel on 2010/12/31 at 1:14 AM

    Though I give it to Messi for being an absolutely amazing player, Ronaldo edges this player out.

    1) Ronaldo is better with free kicks and headers, hands down.
    2) Ronaldo is a much more physically stronger player. Put Messi in the ELP and he will struggle, whereas Ronaldo succeeded.
    3) Messi gets many assists and good chances from Xavi, Iniesta & co., but Ronaldo does a lot by himself without the help of his teammates at times.

    It’s a close one for me. Both are magnificent talents and only time will tell which will go down in history as the better player.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2010/12/31 at 10:53 AM

      I would agree with the first one and raise no debate there. Messi’s 5’7″, he’s not winning headers that often.

      …the second one, though…I will point something out: Messi doesn’t get knocked off the ball. He gets MUGGED by guys with 4-5 inches and 30 pounds on him, and he maintains possession. I would agree that the added physicality of the EPL would force him to adjust, but I think his talent and contributions would still be incredibly visible.

      The third one, yeah, he does. But he gives just as much as he takes. I think we just need to call it a perfect storm, because while that team is dominant first and foremost because of it’s midfield, it’s becoming a legendary side because of Messi.

      Reply

  21. Posted by ed on 2011/01/01 at 2:29 AM

    A player that is deficient in many areas cannot be the best in the world.

    Messi is probably the best speed dribbler that ever played, who knows.

    So, some say Messi is the best.

    I say Ronaldo is better than Messi in quite a few areas such as athleticism, speed, right/left foot, headers, distance, finishing ability, shot technique etc.

    My equation then says Ronaldo = Messi + athleticism + header + long range + speed … – speed dribbling

    In other words Ronaldo is better than Messi by far. You may prefer Messi, but that is another topic.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Joe on 2011/01/03 at 11:46 AM

    Messi by far. He scores goals, he assists, he participates more in the game, and dominates every facet of it.

    Reply

  23. Posted by Josh on 2011/01/14 at 2:10 AM

    Since Messi is outclassing Ronaldo…as usual, execuse abound…like Ronaldo is more complete…etc… utter nonsense… Google Sid Lowe and read his assessment of the two… passing accuray, passess leading to goals, balls lost, balls recovered etc. For two season in a row coaches, captains and jouranalist say Messi is the best…maybe the best ever. So should Messi leave the best team in the world just to show he can play in the Engslish weather? For god’s sake he has more assists than Xavi, so stop the argument that he plays with the best midfield. Ronaldo is playong in the most expensive squad ever…just because Kaka, Higuain, Oezil, Di Maria can’t cope with Barca does not make them bad players. Oh… and Ronaldo is coached by the so called best coach! Look at big game performaces where the two have met…El Classico, Champions League finald etc… who has delivered! Look at who has scored more first goals! Again Messi does not need to be a tall guy and a good header to be better the CR7, Maradona and Pele were short as well!

    Reply

  24. Posted by Stefan on 2011/07/14 at 5:07 PM

    Who has more votes,he’s the best :)

    Reply

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