Five Reasons Why Ronaldo is Better than Messi

by Jasveer Singh Gill

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Cristiano Ronaldo. Lionel Messi. Goals. Skills. Pace, strength and technique. Winners. There is nearly nothing that separates them. Nearly.

Not since the mid-eighties has the world of football got to see two players plying their trade for the top two teams in the same nation, battling it out to be recognised as the best player in the world.

Back then it was Michel Platini vs. Diego Maradona. The elegant Frenchman was the number 10 for Juventus, the most successful team in Italian history, while the diminutive Argentinean wore the same number for Napoli, a team who at the time of his joining had never won any major trophy.

Back then the world witnessed both at their magnificent peaks, leading their respective teams to the summit of Serie A in successive years. Now we have a similar situation with Messi and Ronaldo. Looking back, despite the fact that Platini scored more goals in Serie A and won more domestic trophies, it is now clear the better player was Maradona, although it may not have been completely clear to all back then.

This is because Platini played for the better team and was a far more likeable character than the brash Maradona. Obviously Maradona reached unsurpassable heights after his performances during the 1986 world cup but for a period of the 80’s many thought Platini was the better player.

Like Platini, Messi is playing for what has been clearly the better team over the last few years. Like Maradona, Ronaldo is far from the most lovable character. Like Maradona was to Platini, Ronaldo is a better footballer than Messi. And here are five reasons why.

1) RONALDO HAS A BETTER GOAL SCORING RECORD: Messi has scored 124 goals in his last 162 games (since 2007). In this same time Ronaldo has played 156 games and scored 119 goals. This is 37 games for Ronaldo, while Messi has 38, below a goal-a-game average. By a very very very very slight margin Ronaldo has a better goal per game average over the last three years.

2) RONADLO IS MORE PROVEN: Ronaldo has barely had a full season in Spain, having had an injury prone first season and only being halfway through this season, yet it is still blindingly obvious he has been a success in La Liga and will continue to be so. After growing up playing in the hurly-burly 100 mile-an-hour games of the Premiership, some thought it would take Ronaldo some time to adapt to the more technical game in Spain but he has settled in like a duck to water, playing perhaps even better than he was in England, which is saying something. Messi has grown up playing in the La Liga so perhaps comparison is not fair, but his record in Europe against English clubs is 1 goal in 11 games (discounting the 4 goals in his last game against Arsenal which takes him to the decent total of 5 in 12, but Arsenal do not really count as an English team) which would suggest the brutal art that is Premiership defending definitely has an effect on Messi’s mesmerising skills.

Put it this way, if Messi moved to Man City or Chelsea away from his beloved Barcelona who have been honed to bring out the best in him, would you expect to see him score as many goals as Ronaldo did in England? Playing against the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Stoke during the bitter winters up north, without the likes of Xavi and Iniesta to play off, would Messi be relishing the battle? We may never know the answer to that question with Messi, but we know the answer with Ronaldo.

3) RONALDO HAS PLAYED THROUGH ADVERSITY: Probably a majority of football fans (and many of you reading this I suspect) hate Cristiano Ronaldo. It is hard not to sometimes. He has woman falling at his feet and if we are to believe what the tabloids tells us he makes the most of it. He is one of the best players in the world and yet he still dives and screams and moans, doing anything he can to win. Defenders hate him; nearly every game he is confronted with a snarling defender angrily screaming in his face. Yet he does not get intimidated. Incidents such as the infamous “wink” after helping to get his club-mate Wayne Rooney sent off in 2006 say it all about him. After that particular incident Ronaldo was the most hated man in Britain, yet he still came back to this nation and played a pivotal role in helping Manchester United win a league title, despite taking a torrent of abuse from players and fans throughout the season.

Messi is a very likeable character. After he destroys defenders they will still ask for his shirt after the game, almost like they feel if it is anyone who should make them look silly it is better it is that nice humble nerdy-looking kid from Argentina.

Messi has never felt the hate that Ronaldo has. He has never been the specific target of abuse or malice from defenders. Ronaldo has and still does, but he uses it to fuel the burning desire he has to prove himself as the world’s best. As his slogan with Nike says, “Your love makes me strong, your hate makes me unstoppable”.

4) RONALDO’S SELFISHNESS: Now many of you are probably already making contemptuous snorting sounds already at this statement. How can Ronaldo’s selfishness make him a better player? Because it means he does not need anyone else.

Ronaldo will sometimes shoot when he perhaps could have passed, or try and take on one player too many. He also hogs free-kicks and penalty taking responsibilities. But rather than say this has a negative effect on his team-mates, it should be said that Ronaldo takes responsibility at getting his team the win. If he has not scored or at least helped his team to win, he takes it personally. This is why he can go from Manchester United to Real Madrid without breaking stride in his spectacular form. He is not reliant on anyone other than himself and that partnership is working fine.

Many always state that Messi is a far better team player, as he is happy to work hard to create chances for others and help his team retain and keep possession. Ronaldo is not a workhorse and many-a-time he will be seen standing watching in frustration as his team works to win the ball, rather than helping out. But in their positions they are not there to be defensive and Ronaldo (as shown earlier) is the more effective goal scorer in recent years and despite what some may think, he also has more assists then Messi has, with 74 to Messi’s 61 so far in their careers

5) RONALDO’S SHEER ABILITY: There is an old saying in boxing which goes ‘A good big man will always beat a good little man’. Ronaldo and Messi both constitute as great, but Ronaldo is a great player in a 6ft 1in body that is defined spectacularly, while Messi is a great in a 5ft 7in in a rather stumpy frame. No doubt Messi, with his close control and low-centre of gravity, uses his frame to the best he can. Yet it can not make up for natural deficiencies. As good as Messi is in the air, he will never be able to win balls like Ronaldo can. As strong and stocky as he is, Messi will never be the physical force for defenders to deal with that Ronaldo is. Messi may slightly be the better dribbler and perhaps even very slightly technically better, but this does not measure up to the 6in height difference and two stone weight difference they have. Football is a very physical game and especially in the modern game we have seen the difference physicality can make. Ronaldo has this edge over Messi.

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  • Mystical Mike

    Good article but Messi scored 4 against Arsenal in one game, so that’s 5 goals in 11 games against Premier league sides, not that bad.

    Messi has also scored 67 in his last 69 games.

    It’s to tough to choose, but I’d have to go for Messi as he plays the game with a smile on his face, he’s much more likeable and slightly better to watch.

  • Matt Quinn

    Nice Article…but badly wrong.
    Ronaldo is probably the best player on the planet. Unfortunately for him, Messi is from a different universe altogether. I’m not sure how anyone can really compare the two.

    1) Messi has the better goalscoring record. Not Ronaldo. Messi has scored 70 goals in his last 67 games. This includes about 1 penalty. Ronaldo takes all the penalties. If you take the stats from 2007, this includes when Messi was a teenager. Ronaldo, as a teenager, did not score anywhere near the amount that Messi did. Overall, taking the last 2 years, Messi has a better scoring record. More than a goal a game.

    2) I really cant take seriously any comment that suggests that Messi would struggle against Bolton, Stoke and Blackburn!!! Is that blackburn who just conceeded 5 goals to Dimitar Berbatov?
    Anyone who watches La Liga will see that Messi is kicked from pillar to post in most games. Unlike Ronaldo tho, he just gets on with it- very rarely falling over. In fact, out of the two, it would make more sense to suggest that Ronaldo is the one who would struggle in a more physical environment. Ie. Watch Messi’s goal for Argentina v Brazil last week. Ronaldo would have fallen over half-way through the run. Messi didnt. He stayed on his feet and scored.

    Also, please study Messi’s goals. Most of them involve him beating one or two players or long range strikes. This is down to his genius not Xavi/Iniesta’s passing. (as wonderful as they are)

    3) Messi has come through adversity. He needed growth hormones as a kid. I dont think this point particularly matters tho.

    4) Ronaldo is selfish and usually to the detriment of his team. Most madrid fans, while liking Ronaldo, do not love him. They frequently call him “the selfish one” as he rarely passes to team-mates in better positions. In fact, the Madrid fans much prefer Mehmet Ozil over Ronaldo.

    5) Yes, Ronaldo is probably better in the air. This doesnt make him the more complete player or more all-round. Messi is the better passer, better dribbler, has more vision, creativity, imagination. Messi is harder to shove off the ball, Messi tracks back more, Messi is probably quicker. Messi has the better shot and scores more. In fact, heading is about the only thing Ronaldo beats Messi on.

    Overall, i conclude, Messi is better.

  • Matt Quinn

    Indeed, please go back and read the match reports for Messi’s games versus English teams. Apart from the double header against Chelsea 2 seasons ago, Messi was named Man Of the Match in each and every one of the other 9 games on BBC Sport. (please take the time to research this)… including as an 18 year old against Chelsea (remember when Del Horno got sent off)

    Here are some extracts from BBC Sport:
    Versus Chelsea (2006) -Messi had been Barcelona’s outstanding performer, and he almost put them in front with a stunning curling drive after 72 minutes that rebounded to safety off the bar

    Versus Man United (2008)- United had vowed to attack but they were forced to play a containing game as Barcelona played possession football, with Lionel Messi at the heart of everything. BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi 7.89 (on 90 minutes).

    Versus Man United (2008 – 2nd leg) – Barcelona, inspired by the brilliant Messi, had United penned back, but they were resisted by defensive discipline and resilience of the highest class from a side normally noted for their attacking verve. BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi 7.98 (on 90 minutes).

    Versus Man United (champions league final) – If the showdown between Messi and Ronaldo was billed as the spectacular sub-plot within this showpiece, there was only one winner as Barcelona’s playmaker terrorised United throughout.

    Plus, as the poster above noted, Messi of course scored 4 goals in one game versus Arsenal last year.

    Ps. Until he moved to Spain, Ronaldo failed to score against Spanish opposition in Europe in about 10 attempts. Discuss.

  • ZZ

    Well said Mr Quinn, Ronaldo is thoroughbred, but Messi is quite simply in a league of his own, he’s been consistently performing at the highest level since was an 18 year old.

    In 10 years there’s no doubt he will be mentioned in the same breath as Pele, Maradona & Zindane as the one of the greatest players ever to grace the game

  • darren

    its like FIFA vs Pro Ev. Mess is Pro Ev, Ronaldo is FIFA.

    Everyone knows Pro Ev is better!

  • Ashley Young

    What people are failing to remember is that for the last two years Messi has played for a far superior team to Ronaldo. When all their stats keep them so close together it is silly for anyone to say Messi is out of Ronaldo’s league. The two are pushing each other very hard. Overall verdict? Let’s see at the end of the season

  • Morris

    The stat about assists is also in the wrong contest. Ronaldo had one season where he got 19 assists and since then he has never contributed as much to his team whereas Messi’s assist stats are consistently at the same level since he became a first team regular. And you cant just discount any stat like the 4 against Arsenal as that weights the comparison in favour of Ronaldo. P.S i dont have a problem with Ronaldo as i’m a United fan but its clear that Messi is the better player. Ronaldo will go down with Zidane,Platini, Fat Ronaldo that bracket of great players. Messi will be in the highest level Maradona, Best and Pele

  • Marc Sibbons

    Ronaldo didnt look all that tonight mate! Messi absolutely ruined him, and he still wasn’t at his best, scary!

  • Mystical Mike

    I think the term mugged up springs to mind!

  • ru4real

    How on earth could anyone believe such rubbish….really… Messi is heaps ahead of Ronaldo… Heaps ! In every way possible he is a little better, but in some areas he is just in a league of his own.. the guy punishes any team, big or small.. Ronaldo fails to deliver in difficult matches, for example he has not scored or even assisted 1 single goal in all his matches versus Barcelona…ever basically ( with ManU also) i mean.. i go on and on.. he can never score a goal like Messi vs Getafe for example.. those things are for Legends in the making, players that could challenge the top names of History like Diego Maradona, Di stefano, Pele and Cruyff. dont forget that ronaldo scores around 40% of his goals from Penalties and free kicks.. not so scary as a player. Messi on the other hand ruins defenders week.. if not season and sleep.. The Best player in the world right now is simply, The best player in the world right now. kill your bias and you would see more clear my friend.

  • Matt Quinn

    To be fair to the original poster…. we still havent seen Messi up against Zat Knight, Ryan Nelsen or Danny Higginbottom. Until weve seen that, we will never be able to say Messi is the greatest.

  • Mystical Mike

    Lol Matt, you’ve missed Titus Bramble from that list too!



  • adedapo

    i think messi i more superior in all areas as to cr7 who is selfish and selmeat.messi dont complain nor does he fight or contest @ ref. decisions but cr7, what can I say?

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