You’ll never convince Cristiano Ronaldo that Lionel Messi is greater than him, rightfully so. To be the best you have to believe you’re the best, no matter the facts and numbers and the overall perception of most people on the planet who watch football. The Real Madrid star, tired of losing in the Ballon d’Or every year, is doing everything he can to win votes.
And if on the pitch it isn’t “working”, using the media is the way to go. In a series of interviews with CNN, Ronaldo has opened up about certain things, but delivers no surprising revelations. He thinks he’s the best player in the world, better than Messi. But he does think that his image and perception among many fans and pundits has hurt him when it comes down to handing down awards.
In truth, it’s a coin flip at times, and simply comes to how you prefer your cup of tea. Cristiano Ronaldo is something the world has yet to see in terms of excellence of execution. The things he does aren’t as imaginative or coming out of nowhere like Messi. Ronaldo simply has all the physical features and abilities you want when you build the perfect footballer. Fast, strong, can shoot with both feet, athletic. Flawless in that aspect. A goal scoring machine.
Lionel Messi is something different. Short and not too impressive looking. But sometimes, the greatest talents come in small packages. A right winger to begin with, he was simply scoring too many goals for Guardiola not to move to the middle. The result? Even more goals and assists, getting involved more in both the build up and the finishing, and broken record after broken record, along with local, European and global titles left behind.
One thing that goes against Ronaldo in the comparison with Messi is putting behind everything he’s achieved with Manchester United. Champions League title and another final, four Premier League titles. When it comes to his rivalry with Messi, it’s only what he’s achieved when playing against Barcelona and its biggest star. So far? One league title, one Copa del Rey, and only one win in the league against them.
When things are that close between them, sometimes it falls to image. I do believe that Messi is the better player and each year simply outperforms Ronaldo, but you can’t convince the Portuguese player with that. He says that image is the deciding factor in the reason to why he hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or in recent seasons, not Messi being better.
True? Again, it depends on who’s looking and hearing. Messi is the better team player, and while serious looking just as Ronaldo is on the pitch, he rarely creates antagonism with his behavior. There have been his moments with David Villa this season and a lot more arguing with referees, but he lacks the traits of asking for a handball, diving and such that go along with the Ronaldo package.
These aren’t the Oscars. Mourinho and Ronaldo lobbying for Cristiano shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Changing the reasons for why he should be voted as the winner, all depending on what Messi and his team have done (Last season, Mourinho thought Ronaldo should have won because he scored more goals. This season, scoring less than Messi, he should win because he won a title); this should be won based on ability on the pitch. In that regards, despite the close race, I think Messi wins almost every time.