The Spanish league can be said to be over as Real Madrid leads the table with 10 points and 14 games remaining. Real Madrid won arguably their toughest match of the season last weekend when they defeated Real Vallecano by a lone goal while Barcelona also laboured to a 2-1 victory over Athletico Madrid.
The talking point of both games was the brilliance of Ronaldo and Messi. Ronaldo scored a brilliant back heel while Messi scored a brilliant free kick.
Both players scored the winning goal for their teams and the goals were collectors’ item. In every generation, there are official best players and their potential rivals. Ronaldo De Lima and Zidane, Ronaldinho and Henry, Figo and Zidane, Eto’o and Drogba are a few. The most recent ones are Messi and Ronaldo.
Both players are considered the best in the world today; and both have taken the art of goal scoring to another level. What made their rivalry more interesting was when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid, Barcelona’s eternal rivals. It has been debated that the rivalry is bringing out the best in both players as the other is always trying to outdo his partner thereby showcasing their best skills.
Since joining Real Madrid, Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 123 goals in 125 games for Madrid in all competitions. This season, he is the top scorer in the league with 29 goals and looks on course to breaking his record of 40 goals scored last season. Ronaldo has proven he ranks among the best in terms of goal scoring and his biggest strength is his ability to shoot with both feet from any angle. He has good aerial ability and good on set pieces also.
His back heel goal last week is among one of his best goals so far. One of the criticisms labelled against the former Manchester United star this season is that, out of his 29 goals so far in the league, he has scored 10 penalties and that he misfires in big games notably the El Classicos against rivals Barcelona.
Since arriving three seasons ago from Manchester United in a world record deal, Ronaldo has tasted victory only once in 14 games against the Catalans in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final. Incidentally, Ronaldo scored the winning goal in that encounter.
He has also been criticised for his selfishness but that aspect of his game has improved this season and Ronaldo is on course to win his first league title for Real Madrid. Many have argued if not for Messi, Ronaldo would today have been decorated as the best player in the world.
Messi on the other hand is regarded not only as the best player in the world today but is regarded among the greats of the game. In January this year, he won his third straight World Player of the Year trophy. At just 24, he has won everything in club football and the only thing missing from his impressive trophy cabinet is the FIFA World Cup which he vowed on Tuesday to win for his country Argentina.
This season Barcelona has found themselves 10 points below Madrid and Coach Josep Guardiola admitted that his side can no longer win the league this season. Messi and his teammates have set their sights on winning the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League this season to make up for a disappointing season.
Messi’s brilliant free kick last week was his 28 league goal of the season and he is going toe to toe with Ronaldo for the golden boot. Messi’s greatest strength are his close dribbling skills, quick feet and balance and has the penchant for doing the sublime as one commentator said recently.
Messi favours brains over brawns as he is not the quickest or strongest player but he relies on his natural abilities to take on players. What sets him apart from Ronaldo is that he makes more assists, key passes and also steps up his game in big matches.
Last season and this season he scored in all the Cup finals Barcelona won, The Champions League final, Uefa Supercup, Spanish Supercup and The Club World Cup. Both players proved last week that they are among the greats in the game, to say who is better, this is a question that divides the football fans around the world as both set of fans will give plenty reasons while one is better than the other. What people will definitely agree on is both players are having phenomenal seasons.