While this post should have nothing to do with Cristiano Ronaldo, you need a comparison partner in order to suggest someone is better or the best at something. Lionel Messi of Barcelona put on a special show in the Champions League to show he’s both.
What was so unique about it? Messi didn’t score. He just nutmegged players (see below) and set up the Ivan Rakitic goal that gave Barcelona enough breathing room in a match they simply found it impossible, except for that one time, to beat a fantastic Joe Hart.
And even though it was just one goal that made up for misses from Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, it was quite the show from the Argentine genius. Few players in the world can gather so much praise without scoring, but Messi, unlike Ronaldo, can dazzle and look as close as it is to perfection without even scoring.
Ronaldo? He’ll forever be the number two player, no matter how many undeserved Ballon d’Or trophies he gets to pick up. Ronaldo without goals isn’t really worth a lot. We see it in every bad result Real Madrid have made recently, and there have been a few.
Messi? He’s playing like the “old” Messi, as if he was ever bad. He’s influencing the match in new and different ways. Dropping back hasn’t made it more difficult for him to score goals. It just gives him more space and more opportunities to show his passing skills, which just might be the best in the world right now.
I’m on the “Messi is the best player of all-time” side of the argument. Ronaldo will always be compared to Messi, in numbers and titles. Messi himself? He’s compared to Maradona and Pele. He might not have their World Cup résumé, but he’s done enough in a very different age of football to put himself on par with them, shoulder to shoulder, and probably a step ahead simply for being a more complete and overall better player.