Messi has spent the last few years terrorizing defenses for Spanish giant FC Barcelona. The diminutive Argentine’s mazy runs, exquisite finishing and dogged determination have helped rack up an endless range of trophies for the Catalans.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s chief nemesis, Real Madrid, is home to the flamboyant yet brilliant showman, Ronaldo. The rivalry between the two is almost as big as the rivalry between the two clubs. Or so we thought.
“I respect him, but I have no relationship with him, as I don’t with a lot of other footballers,” Messi told Marca, according to FIFA.com. “I have relationships with my Barcelona club-mates, and with the international squad, Argentinian players who I’ve got to know well over the years.
“There’s never been any kind of anger toward Cristiano. It’s all made up by the press who want to believe there’s a constant duel between the two of us, but I don’t compete with Cristiano, nor does he with me.
“I just want to do my job,” Messi continued, “I want things to go well, and I want to keep winning trophies with the national side and with Barcelona.”
Messi has never given much attention to the supposed personal contest between the two superstars, but his Portuguese counterpart has occasionally struggled with the comparison.
After missing several opportunities at the 2012 UEFA European Championships, Ronaldo was on the receiving end of “Messi, Messi” chants by Danish fans.
His frustration boiled over after the game, when he exclaimed to the media, “Do you know what [Messi] was doing this time last year? He was going out of the Copa America in the quarterfinals.”
If the Barcelona ace refuses to stoke the rivalry’s flames, we will for him.
Messi is better than Ronaldo. Period.
It’s not his ridiculous collection of personal awards and accomplishments — three Ballon d’Ors to go along with the record for most goals scored in one European season (73 strikes in 60 games) for those counting at home — that sets Messi apart. Soccer is the ultimate team game, and, thus far, Messi’s achievements with Barcelona stand higher than those of Ronaldo during his time at Manchester United and current employer Madrid.
“La Pulga’s” five league titles trump Ronaldo’s four (three coming with United), as does his collection of three UEFA Champions League titles to Ronaldo’s solitary European conquest (again with United). And — so long as Diego Maradona is not re-hired to single-handedly undermine Messi’s efforts as he did at the 2010 FIFA World Cup — one wouldn’t bet against Messi grabbing world soccer’s biggest prize at some point down the road.
Thankfully for us neutrals, with Messi at just 25 years old and Ronaldo only 27, this debate will rage on for years to come. For once, there’s nothing Messi can do about it.