Who is the best, Ronaldo or Messi?

by   |   09/05/2019  87 Comments  [Jump to last]

Watching Barcelona getting beat on Tuesday has brought up a question I have often thought about: would you pick Ronaldo or Messi in their prime to play for us?

The last 10 years have been dominated by two football greats: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Even though both players have scooped every individual award over the past decade, there can be only one, but which of them is it?

Messi and Ronaldo differ mostly in their style. Ronaldo is like a machine with great physical abilities and a huge amount of talent but I think Messi is a greater natural talent. He is a virtuoso and his dribbling is considered to be the best, he also passes and shoots with amazing precision.

Messi has won more titles since he plays for a better team, not because he is a better player than Ronaldo. For example, Messi has played with Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta, two of the best midfielders of our era.

The part that puts Ronaldo ahead in my opinion is his international career. Messi has never won an international trophy. He lost finals in both the Copa America (the South America championship) and the World Cup. Meanwhile, Ronaldo led his Portugal side to win the 2016 European Championship.

His three World Cup trophies fixed Pele’s stature as the best player ever and Diego Maradona winning it for Argentina in 1986 puts him before Messi. I put Messi on a par with Cruyff in the '70s as he was considered the best but Holland never won anything with him playing.

I think Messi is a better team player and more talented but I personally feel Ronaldo is more complete with a better international career.

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John Raftery
1 Posted 09/05/2019 at 16:20:33
If I was picking a team to play for my life I would select Ronaldo over Messi. Messi is unquestionably a great player with fantastic dribbling skills but he has only done it for one team in one country. That team had other stellar talents. The other night alongside lesser beings it was relatively easy for Liverpool to nullify him.

Ronaldo has won league titles in three countries. He dragged and drove an ordinary Portugal team to a European Championship. He can score vital goals with both feet and his head. As he has grown older he has adapted his game to ensure he stays at the top level.

Clarence Yurcan
2 Posted 09/05/2019 at 17:11:25
I have long chosen the Ronaldo side of this debate.
Chris Leyland
3 Posted 09/05/2019 at 17:19:35
Ronaldo with no doubt. Messi is a flat track bully who has it easy week after week in a league with little or no competition. When the chips were down the other night and they needed their inspirational leader to step up, he went missing. Ronaldo on the other hand, would have thrived in that match and would have tried to take the game to the shite.
Stan Schofield
4 Posted 09/05/2019 at 18:17:27
Ronaldo. He's got more aspects to his overall play, and won't take any physical shit off anyone.
Paul Birmingham
5 Posted 09/05/2019 at 20:57:47
Good debate and each to their own, and respectfully so, but for me it’s Messi.
John Pierce
6 Posted 09/05/2019 at 21:03:42
It’s weird, it should be Messi. The more gifted player by some margin. However Ronaldo has made the very most of his talent, played in three top European leagues and won in each of them.
He has dragged a frankly shocking Portuguese side to win the Euros, and when it comes to reinventing himself he has done so to prolong his career.
He has put himself outside his comfort zone.
I’d love to see Messi do it elsewhere, and that the crux for me, if he had then there wouldn’t be a debate.
When it comes down to one shot to win you the game, it’s Ronaldo every time.
Joe McMahon
7 Posted 09/05/2019 at 21:12:57
Ronaldo all day long for me as well.
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 09/05/2019 at 21:30:48
Before Tuesday night it was Messi, but a lot has changed since then!

Natural talent, then it’s got to be the Argentinian, but for making the most out of himself, then it’s got to be the man from Portugal for me.

Remember the game when Fernandez, put Everton two up against United, and watching Ronaldo, warming up ready to come on and save the game for his team. No exaggeration to say he looked about 8 foot, running behind the linesman, and once he entered the Fray, there was only ever going to be one winner that day.

Martin Mason
9 Posted 09/05/2019 at 21:38:37
Ronaldo, he has everything. The funny thing was United took a big punt with him, he wasn't that good a winger and used to do these stupid stepovers. His physique developed though and he became what he is now. Messi isn't that bad though is he?
Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 09/05/2019 at 21:55:58
Can't believe what I'm reading here. You guys are just biased by the Liverpool game.

It's not even a contest. Messi by a mile.

Messi has a superior goalscoring record -- 600 goals in 684 appearances, vs. Ronaldo 601 in 801.

As a playmaker nobody can touch Messi. He's one of the most brilliant passers in the history of the game, and he makes even ordinary players around him brilliant too, which is something nobody has ever said of Cristiano. Messi has way more assists than Ronaldo in fewer games.

Messi contributes defensively by playing the ball out of the back under maximum pressure. Cristiano rarely even sees his own half.

Most of all, Messi plays the game the right way, with class and dignity. Cristiano is a renowned diver, complainer and referee-baiter who goes down screaming in a puff of wind and rolls three times. (There are entire YouTube videos of nothing but Cristiano diving.) And he rips his shirt off even on tap-ins created by others. With Messi, there's no diving, no screaming, no rolling around, and when he scores, no theatrics -- he goes right to the guy who made the play.

Plus Cristiano can be a dirty bastard. He has seen red 11 times in his career and has 50% more yellows than Messi. Outside of one bizarre call, two minutes into his international debut at age 18, Messi has never seen red. Sportsmanship matters.

Sorry, but I think international success is a sloppy and unconvincing way of determining greatness. Ronaldo has one cup, Messi none. Big effing deal. By that standard, Mario Zagallo and Djalma Santos are among the greatest who ever lived and Di Stefano, Eusebio and George Best weren't worth a shit.

Messi did NOT play in a superior club. Barca and Real Madrid have always been even in talent, at best -- RM always spent more on players than Barca, sometimes twice as much. Over the years Barca has kicked Real's ass far more, primarily because Messi is better at driving his team on than Cristiano.

For his goalscoring alone, Ronaldo is in the all-time best 11 in my opinion. Messi is the #2 player of all time. Like I said, no contest.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:04:58
Mike (10), it’s all about opinions Mike and you mentioned mine in your post above. Alfredo Di Stefano, I never saw him live, only on TV but that was enough for me, just my opinion though.
Anthony A Hughes
12 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:11:42
Wafer thin between them but Ronaldo for me. Would have loved to have seen Messi in the Premier League just to prove he could do it elsewhere.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:13:31
Chris #3, guess you haven't watched many Barca/Real Madrid games in the past decade or so. Both play in the same "league with little or no competition" except (usually) each other.

Messi and Ronaldo played, I believe, 30 Clasicos against each other. Messi won 14, Cristiano 8. And in every season, Real had the higher payroll.

Yes, Cristiano won titles in three different leagues, and all credit to him for that, but in only one of those leagues did he have to defeat Leo Messi. And most of the time, he couldn't.

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:22:15
Mike@10: I agree 100% about Messi's sportsmanship. I can't recall seeing him dive or get in the ref's face, which is unusual in this day and age.

Actually Mike, that was a cracking post, and I realise I was a bit unthinking in choosing Ronaldo. On reflection, I was wrong, and as you say it's got to be Messi. He's just a total genius. Maybe I was a bit peeved about Barca's performance on Tuesday.

John Pierce
15 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:22:42
Mike, this debate is not one for stats, it’s what they bring to your heart for me. Ronaldo has an edge, a dead eye when he has one chance to win the game and is always has me off my seat, even if it is a red card, a niggle or a great goal.
Messi however brilliant he is, leaves me cold, maybe it’s his personality but much like Guardiola, this type of footy is surgical and almost unflawed. Perfect as he is, I don’t deny, it becomes dull and frankly formulaic.
That unlike the raw emotional rollercoaster that is CR7, just is not my cup of tea. That’s what’s makes great footballers for me.
Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:29:45
There's one more thing to consider.

If you believe the American model Kathryn Mayorga -- and after reading the leaked legal documents from the Las Vegas PD and the lengthy investigative articles by Sports Illustrated and Der Spiegel, I do believe her -- Cristiano is a rapist.

I think that matters too.

Mike Gaynes
17 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:32:29
John #15, no question Messi is a boring personality. But to me his passion is on display in his creativity on the ball, which is superior to Cristiano's. He creates passes I've never seen before. But as you say, it's all about what makes your heart beat quicker.

Stan, thanks. I think you're the only one I've convinced!

John Pierce
18 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:36:42
In other news Barkley to miss a pen?
Andy Crooks
19 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:38:57
Wow, Mike. Bold stuff. Let us be sued together. I agree with you, and, yes, it does matter. But, and it is a big but.. does it affect our judgement on pure ability. Wagner, anti semite and genius? I think, Mike, you have opened a can of worms here.
Mike Jones
20 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:40:44
Off Topic

Freddie Starr just been found dead

Jamie Crowley
21 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:40:56
Messi for me all day long.

All this talk of who's better, for me at any rate, is personal preference. Either of those two are simply out-of-this-world fantastic players.

I just enjoy watching Messi more. He has way better technical skill in my opinion. He's magic on a ball.

I also love that he's diminutive, and has gotten kicked all over the park for a few decades or so, yet rarely goes down. The man is tough as nails in his own way.

I think Tuesday's game brought this "Messi is a choker" garbage up in the press, and I consider it garbage. He's won plenty of titles. When he's lost, because he's just so damn great, people have a tendancy to blame him. It's not always 100% his fault.

Crap Argentina teams. Tuesday's Barcelona's defenders were just awful! Like throw-up awful. It was disgusting to watch. You can't blame Messi for the back four just leaking goals.

He's a better player than Ronaldo. Ronaldo has a better supporting cast over time in my opinion. And yes, seeing that Barcelona's "tippy-tap" team was just sick-good, that's saying a lot. I still believe it to be true.

I take Messi every day of the week over Ronaldo.

But it's like choosing Jesus or Buddha. Megan Fox or Pamela Anderson. The yacht or the airplane. Really doesn't matter in the end as you're going first class with either.

p.s. - Pamela Anderson is like dirty. It's wrong, you know it, but you'd not be able to help yourself. She's the female version of Cristiano. ;0)

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:40:58
Wouldn't be the first time, Andy.

And I can't stay to duke it out... leaving now to watch my buddy's grandson pitch a high school baseball game. If you'd like to pick up the banner, please do.

John Pierce
23 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:41:45
Fuck me Ross scores!
Jamie Crowley
24 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:50:01
All England final in CL.

All England final in Europa.

Is that a first? Has to be?

Terry White
25 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:55:41
Mike (#22), a very good use of your time if I may say.

Would I be considered pedantic if I put on my grammar hat and say this thread should actually be titled "Who is BETTER"? Do they teach spelling and grammar in schools these days in the UK?

Fran Mitchell
26 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:55:44
Can't believe the number of 'Ronaldo, of course' comments. Football isn't about just titles, otherwise we'd say that the recent Real Madrid were one of the best teams ever - and they are not, they are actually quite a forgettable team. Ronaldo is a brilliant player, but he was equally ineffective vs Ajax.

Messi is the complete player, his vision, his passing, his touch, speed of thought, strength on the ball, speed, technique, finishing - 600 career goals in less than 700 games.

Ronaldo is also brilliant, 601 goals in 800 games, but com'on.

Messi played all his career in La Liga and Champions League, no warming up in a second level league in portugual (not that it takes anything away from CR7).

Messi did play along side Xavi and Iniesta, and now both of them are gone, he plays with Vidal, Artur, Raktic and he's just arguably had his best season ever. Barça didn't win despite having Messi, a huge disapointment and a certain reason for Valverde to be sacked.

Messi also has more assists, 230 to Ronaldo mere 190...

I'd also argue that Messi has more spectacular goals, both are wonderours at free kicks, but those magic moments in games where you just scream 'jesus fucking christ, how the hell did he do that' - Messi could make a film of them, and Ronaldo is more about his will and brute force - lots of headers, tap ins, penalties, he scores, all the time, no matter the way.

Internationally, they differentiate by 1 title, ronaldo has 85 goals in 156 cap, Messi 65 in 129 - yet you can argue Ronaldo played for a Portugual with its golden generation, whilst Argentina has been pretty woeful, mainly due to structural problems and corruption, for a long time now.

The are both Brilliant players, both exceptional athletes and not a single contrasticing conjuntion can be used with either. All youngters upon entering the academy should receive videos of these players, not just what they do on the pitch, but on the training field, they should be taught about their diets, their lifestyles, their dedication, because neither just came with 'natural ability' (one the the odd slights offered to Messi occassionally). Both, according to who know them well, train more than everyone, both avoid the 'lifestyle' many enjoy, both eat very controlled, both are incredibly determined, almost obsessive about their jobs.

But for me, Messi is the greatest, and not just the greatest of the Messi x Ronaldo debate, but the greatest of them all. Better than Pelê, better than Maradona, better than Cyruff, you name it, Messi is no1, and he will be for a good 4-5 years still.

Rob Halligan
27 Posted 09/05/2019 at 22:57:42
Kepa saved Frankfurts third penalty without moving. He just stood in the middle of his goal and the penalty stuck between his legs. Sometimes goalies have to be brave and not move.

Don't think I've ever seen a goalie save a pen without moving.

Stan Schofield
28 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:03:09
To be honest, on natural ability I'd say Rooney was better than Ronaldo, it's just that he hasn't looked after himself, otherwise he'd probably still be great.

The only other player I can recall who was comparable to Messi in natural ability was Best.

John McFarlane Snr
29 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:07:37
Hi Mike, [1 or 2 posts] I think you put the case for Messi in a nutshell, to put it another way I believe that Messi plays for his team, and Ronaldo plays for Ronaldo. I've always maintained that any two supporters could sit next to each other and see a different game, and likewise with individual players.
Chris Leyland
30 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:08:39
Mike - Ronaldo has done it in four countries not just in Spain. He has won the league in three different countries too. He won three consecutive Champion’s leagues. Messi has sat in his comfort zone in Barca not prepared to risk testing himself in another league.

In the elite European competition: the Champions League, in the past seven seasons, Ronaldo has outscored Messi in six of them.

As for your claim that Ronaldo is a rapist, as far as a I am aware, he has not been convicted of the crime. I always thought people were innocent until proven guilty?

Jay Wood

31 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:10:35
That was as strange a penalty save as I've ever seen Rob. Kepa's legs were still quite widespread as the ball was travelling towards him. He ended up almost sitting on the ball. Any panicked movement and it could have still gone in.
Jay Wood

32 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:20:12
As for the Ronaldo v Messi debate, a case can easily be made for either based on any comparison and criteria you wish to apply. I would hazard a guess that both would make the majority of people's starting XI of the greatest of all time.

For me, they are the two greatest players of their generation and it doesn't happen often down the decades that two possible G.O.A.T.s - almost the same age - maintain such high standards for so long and go toe-to-toe together for as long as they have. It's been a fascinating watch.

Nobody is right and nobody is wrong on this one.

Fran Mitchell
33 Posted 09/05/2019 at 23:22:29
"Mike - Ronaldo has done it in four countries not just in Spain. He has won the league in three different countries too. He won three consecutive Champion’s leagues. Messi has sat in his comfort zone in Barca not prepared to risk testing himself in another league."

"comfort zone" - you think playing for Barça is comfort zone? The slightest stray pass and you're out - look at Ibrahimovic, didn't survive. Look at Coutinho, isn't surviving. and countless others who couldn't hack the demands - what demands? the standards set by one Lionel Messi. The work rate, the consistency, the 'ethos'.

If a player of his quality played for Everton and stayed for his whole career, you wouldn't say 'coward, sholdn't done a Ronney and tested yourself at a different club'. You'd say, fuckin hell, rare one that.

He ain't poor, but imagine the signing on fee he could demand if he chose to go to City or Utd. Does it interest him? no, he is Barça.

Ronaldo won the league in :

PL with Fergies Utd. So did Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, and quite a few others. not diminishing the achievement, but Utd in that period always won the title.

La Liga with Real. But as explained above, Messi did it far more times, in the same time period, in a cheaper (yet still expensive) team, under many different managers, with and without Xavi.

Serie A with Juve: For what, the 7/8th season in a row was hardly a 100-1 shot that they'd win it again he was signed specifically to win the CL, which they didn't, they got knocked out to Ajax.

Again, Ronaldo, brilliant player. Brilliant. Messi is just that but more brilliant

Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 09/05/2019 at 00:05:33
Chris #30, he paid the victim $375,000 to keep quiet. That's a matter of public record.

In the Las Vegas PD documents leaked to Der Spiegel, his description of the brutal attack matched hers, and he admitted to the LVPD investigator that the victim repeatedly said no, that "she didn't want to give it to him" and that he apologized afterwards.

The LVPD investigator said in Sports Illustrated that he's got a strong case. They are doing DNA testing.

Of course, a person can only be convicted if he's tried, and as long as he stays out of the US, he won't be tried. But read the articles I mentioned. If you still want to believe that he's innocent and this is all a cooked-up story by a lying woman, be my guest.

I'm convinced.

Andy Crooks
35 Posted 10/05/2019 at 00:17:47
Mike, I read the Sunday Times account. I am convinced.
Paul Birmingham
36 Posted 10/05/2019 at 00:43:08
Messi, who plays, for his team, spirit, and not his ego.

And then in football terms, it’s a different level, and both are outstanding.

Messi has, been the best player, I’ve watched, in terms of the magical mix, and that above Cruyff.

And in my era for me the best player at the time was Ruud Krol, and still in my view the finest CB in the last 50 years.

It’s long time! Those were the days when footy was a treat if on TV, or able to watch a TV.

James Flynn
37 Posted 09/05/2019 at 01:14:55
You pick first for your team, either one, and I'll just have to make do with the one you left.
David Pearl
38 Posted 10/05/2019 at 06:17:51
Well my dad would tell you Alex Young was better than George Best...

Funny thread. Mike Gaynes took offence to the first few posters and I also wondered if I'd entered the twilight zone as it seemed at first one sided.

Messi. Every day of the week. He gets kicked to pieces, or they try to. Pure ability and class. From nothing he will do something amazing. Best player I have ever seen. Except for the other night. Although I blame the redshite for setting off those fireworks

Mike Gaynes
39 Posted 10/05/2019 at 06:34:27
I wasn't offended, David. Just eager to step up to this particular debate. Very eager.
Amit Vithlani
40 Posted 10/05/2019 at 08:18:41
I seperate talent and "will to win".

Messi for me is undeniably more talented.

Ronaldo however, has demonstrated greater "will to win".

Great champions have great talent and a great will to win. Some of the greatest sporting heroes - the German national teams of yore, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid, England in 66, were not the most talented but their ability to overcome adversity and never accept defeat marked them out as greats.

Ofcourse it is a subjective opinion.

For me, Ronaldo, unpleasant preening and all, has delivered on numerous big stages in different circumstances. He dragged an average Portugal side to the final of Euro 2016, and from the sidelines after his injury cajoled the team as they won thanks to a goal from a Swansea reject.

For Madrid, I lost count of the number of times he scored vital goals in key matches on their way to 3 successive Champions League wins. Something Messi is not likely to ever match.

Messi reminds me of Brazil '82, Stefan Edberg, Virender Sehwag, Imran Khan.

Outstanding talents who won big games but did go missing at certain big moments.

Messi for me has not delivered for his teams once too often. He had a couple chances in the 1st half against Liverpool and I was amazed he did not score.

He seemed to fire himself up for the Classicos more often than he has done for crucial Champions League games, especially during Madrid's dominance of the latter.

Perhaps, in his mind, Classico's were more important? The deeper meaning of Barca v Real for him could be a factor in his out of the world performances in those games, who knows. That makes him a great champion, but in the "will to win" stakes he did not appear to have the same desire as Ronaldo in other games for club and country.

For example, he was ineffective for Argentina the World Cup final of 2014, when he was at his peak. (Maradona, at his peak, heavily marked and stifled like Messi, still dug out the killer pass for the winning goal in 1986).

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has done better with Portugal than Messi has with Argentina. Especially when you consider the talent Messi has had around him.

For Barca, I have long had a feeling that it was the triumverate of Iniesta, Xavi and Messi on which the great Barca sides of yore were built. The 2015 side was led by Iniesta who was man of the match in the final of the Champions League.

Since their departure, Barca have yet to hit great heights. Perhaps their team now is not as strong.

Regarding character, Ronaldo has undeniably ruined his reputation with off the pitch incidents. In addition, like Messi, he was found to have evaded taxes.

However, I think History will still record and celebrate his sporting achievements. Maradona, after all, cheated his way through the 1986 QF and was later banned for drug abuse. His story off the field in Naples had many unpleasant aspects too. He was a thug on the pitch too (the World Cup of 1982 and Barca v Athletic game).

Yet he is still a great champion and, in my book, a greater champion than either Ronaldo or Messi despite his off the field problems.

So, I think Ronaldo's sporting achievements still stand despite the deeply disturbing incidents he has been accused of. He may not have Messi's supreme talent but he has demonstrated a much greater will to win in a variety of big games.

Stan Schofield
42 Posted 10/05/2019 at 10:00:17
Mike@34: The thread is about Ronaldo's and Messi's football abilities, not their integrity as humans. I think the subject of what Ronaldo has done outside of a football field is irrelevant to this discussion.
Chris Rudd
43 Posted 10/05/2019 at 10:30:56
I just don't get the Internationals argument... how many World Cup Finals (the only International tournament they both can take part in) has Ronaldo played in? The one Euro final which Portugal won, they won basically without Ronaldo as he was injured early in the game.

As for the "won leagues in different countries" - so he went to Juve and helped them win their, what was it... eighth title in a row. Some might say he joined them because he knew he could win another title - it's not like he went to Empoli and won them Serie A, is it?

Messi plays football like no other man on the planet, in any conditions... whereas Ronaldo is a better version of lots of players.

It's all about opinions but if football is the beautiful game, Messi embodies that spirit more than any player I've ever seen.

Chris Leyland
44 Posted 10/05/2019 at 10:57:50
Mike - I have read about the allegations in detail and, in the interest of balance,:

Ronaldo has denied that the comments attributed to him in respect of his account of the events by the investigator are accurate.

Investigators will say that they’ve got a ‘strong case’ because that’s their job but they haven’t charged him with anything - yet.

The woman is also attempting to sue him for damages having already waived her right to do so by accepting a previous pay off. A pay off which was made without admission of liability or guilt. Yes, it is a matter of record that he paid her 375,000 but again, that was not an admission of liability or guilt. Some will consider it so, and will say ‘no smoke with out fire’ or ‘why pay her off then?’ But it is likely that he was advised to do so by his legal team who balanced his commercial and reputational risks in offering this advice. We might think to ourselves that we’d never do that if we were in this situation and knew we were innocent but as I suspect that none of us have been in that position, it is impossible to know.

Now it may well transpire in the fullness of time and after the conclusion of any proceedings that he is guilty but I’d prefer to reserve judgement until he is found guilty in a court. Until then he is entitled to the presumption of innocence in the eyes of the law.

Mike Gaynes
45 Posted 10/05/2019 at 15:28:07
Stan #42, we'll agree to disagree. The question Paul poses in the article isn't which player is better -- it's "would you pick Ronaldo or Messi in their prime to play for us?" In that wildly hypothetical choice, I believe character is relevant.

Chris #44, we'll agree to disagree as well. Michael Jackson, R Kelly, OJ Simpson weren't found guilty in a court of law (although OJ later went to prison for something else) and stand innocent in the eyes of the law. But most people look at those cases with their own eyes and believe otherwise, as they are entitled to.

Jamie Crowley
46 Posted 10/05/2019 at 15:40:41
James Flynn @ 37 -

Are talking about Messi v Ronaldo, or some weird love triangle? 😉

Jon Withey
47 Posted 10/05/2019 at 16:00:00
Messi for me - does so much for his diminutive stature. I love the fact that football doesn't necessarily need big grocks to be successful.

Ronaldo also brilliant though, what an athlete.

Stan Schofield
49 Posted 10/05/2019 at 16:57:30
Mike, I take your point, but the title of the thread is about who is best, which no doubt focuses on their ability to deal with a football.

I'd also say that 'what most people believe' about Ronaldo's actions has little or no relevance to the truth. That's why we have Courts of Law.

Also, I must say that if I started bringing moral factors outside of action on the pitch into account, I probably wouldn't have anything to do with top level football.

Tony Cheek
50 Posted 10/05/2019 at 17:15:10
The argument about Messi only doing it for one team in one country doesn't do it for me. Surely the mark of a truly great player is not who he plays with, but who he plays against! He has made a fool of every great defender you can name. that's what makes him THE BEST.
Ronaldo is brilliant. But he is brilliant because he has had to work his arse off to get there. Messi is a natural. He was born with it. There is the difference !
Stan Schofield
51 Posted 10/05/2019 at 17:29:18
Tony, both are naturals (born with very unusual ability), and both have worked their arses off. Surely any conclusions about the difference between them are based on the history of their performances.
Dennis Stevens
52 Posted 10/05/2019 at 17:42:29
Robin Friday!
Steve Ferns
53 Posted 10/05/2019 at 18:09:34
For me, Messi is a lot better than Ronaldo. Sure Ronaldo won the European Championships, but he wasn’t on the pitch for most of the final, so does that really make that much of a difference?

As for all time, I wouldn’t put either of them in the all-time top 5. I hate this thing that people always have to say that the best now is the best ever. It’s human nature.

Messi is not as good as Pele. Pele just gets dismissed out of snobbery. Your mum knows who Pele is, so let’s be a snob and claim someone only football fans know is the best so it makes you look more knowledgeable.

Pele was the best because of a variety of factors. First he would excel in the modern era, in any era. Messi would not even be able to take the field in Dixie’s era, and would be kicked off the pitch in pele’s era. The treatment Pele got here at Goodison was outright assault and no one could take that punishment. People forget what Pele had to go through.

What sets Pele apart from maradona though is his resilience. The Pele of ‘58 was a nimble kid with pace and skills. The Pele of ‘70 had no pace. It had been kicked out of him. But yet he was still the best in the world because he adapted like no player before or since. None of the other players you could put up with Pele could lose their main asset and still be the best.

Most of you have never seen Pele. Not the real Pele. We have seen the goals from ‘58. We have seen ‘70. We base our judgements on the battered old Pele of ‘70.

The real peak Pele was ‘62. The Pele of ‘62 missed the World Cup with injury. But that Pele can be seen on YouTube. Santos used to tour the world. Every year they’d play (and thrash) the European champions. In ‘62 it was the great Benfica side. Pele destroyed them with a hat-trick as Santos hit them for 5. He put in a performance far beyond George Best.

Pele dribbled past players for fun. The pitches were shite. Mud baths. He would glide along the mud. No, not like Messi with the ball stick to his foot, but the ball would race through the mud and Pele would weave in and out of players and keep returning to it like it was a dog on a lead.

He could do the lot. He could excel in any position. In any era. He was two footed unlike Messi or maradona. He adapted. He changed. He was the greatest and there is no one who comes close.

Mike Allison
54 Posted 10/05/2019 at 18:29:33
Ronaldo’s physical attributes tip the balance in my opinion. I’d find room for both though.

Steve I don’t think it’s snobbery, I think a lot of people take the view that things progress, which would make the best now the best ever. It’s demonstrably true in athletic events like running and jumping, but it may not be in football, which combines more elements.

Stan Schofield
55 Posted 10/05/2019 at 19:38:40
Steve, good post. As you say, old film of him shows what he can do. I've got a VHS tape called 'The Boys from Brazil' which captures a lot of his genius.

The best player I've seen in the flesh is George Best, truly remarkable skills, similar in style (IMO) to Messi.

James Flynn
56 Posted 10/05/2019 at 20:00:57
Jamie (46) - Haha. No, you know how these type arguments always come up in sports. For this one, let's throw in Rooney for fun; all 3 in their prime years. Special 3-Team draft.

Well, hey, I'll let the other two team managers hash it out. It's party time for Flynn. I'm off to get drunk. Because whichever player they leave for me, I'm sitting pretty.

As for the Messi or Ronaldo thing? I still say you choose first and I'll take who's left. I'm good.

As to their differences? Cristiano doesn't work harder than Messi, but he LOOKS like he works harder, if that makes sense. How relentlessly he attacks the goal over and over still after what, 15-16 years? Incredible.

Messi for me is more like Rooney was. So effortlessly brilliant all the time right from the very start of their careers that the brilliance appears normal, while anything but.

And Lebron over Jordan every day of the week! So there.

James Flynn
57 Posted 10/05/2019 at 20:00:57
Jamie (46) - Haha. No, you know how these type arguments always come up in sports. For this one, let's throw in Rooney for fun; all 3 in their prime years. Special 3-Team draft.

Well, hey, I'll let the other two team managers hash it out. It's party time for Flynn. I'm off to get drunk. Because whichever player they leave for me, I'm sitting pretty.

As for the Messi or Ronaldo thing? I still say you choose first and I'll take who's left. I'm good.

As to their differences? Cristiano doesn't work harder than Messi, but he LOOKS like he works harder, if that makes sense. How relentlessly he attacks the goal over and over still after what, 15-16 years? Incredible.

Messi for me is more like Rooney was. So effortlessly brilliant all the time right from the very start of their careers that the brilliance appears normal, while anything but.

And Lebron over Jordan every day of the week! So there.

David Pearl
58 Posted 10/05/2019 at 21:12:12
how old are you? Did you see Pele play? Or just YouTube clips?

I think its impossible to judge players from different eras. I'm 49 and can remember hating having to head or kick a wet ball as a kid.

When I got older and played a bit the ball changed so much it's a dream to kick it. You can do anything with the ball these days.

I used to like watching Ronaldinho also. My favourite player from Brazil was Eder for his free kicks that I tried to emulate. You couldn't turn the ball like they had to now, it was like it was attached to elastic. You just bend it like Sheedy nowadays its easy.

Of our generation to do this and remain in peak condition for year after year Ronaldo and Messi are special. Over 10 years for the both them.

Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 10/05/2019 at 21:23:39
Stan (55) a lot of fans would agree with about George Best, a brilliant player with many, many attributes and he rivals my best British player Tom Finney, in fact I may have chosen Georgie over Tom except for the fact that Finney played for much longer than Best whose time at the top wasn’t much longer than seven years, not because George suffered injuries but because he wasted his God given talents on self satisfying material things, his choice, but he could have been as great as he was for much longer, and most probably would have lived a lot longer as well, without doubt he was a great player.
John McFarlane Snr
60 Posted 10/05/2019 at 22:01:58
Hi Dave [59] it would appear that you and I are singing from the same 'hymn sheet', in my twenties I had split my football into bygone and modern categories, and my two favourite players were Tom Finney and George Best.

We didn't see enough of either, bygone days didn't feature TV football thus we were denied the chance to see Tom Finney as much as many of us would have liked, and although TV coverage was slightly increased in the 60s, George Best denied us the pleasure of watching a rare talent. but as they say, 'Be thankful for small mercies.

Stan Schofield
61 Posted 10/05/2019 at 22:53:39
David@58: I think you were unlucky with the football. I'm 65, and you're dead right about the caseys with the bladder and laces which you had to dubben but which got heavier in the wet. A nightmare, and positively dangerous if you headed it on the laces. But I seem to recall things changing around the 66 World Cup when wet-proof caseys without laces became common.
Stan Schofield
62 Posted 10/05/2019 at 23:11:57
Dave@59: I remember a night match at Goodison against Utd, around 1971, one of the first 4 home games of the season. I was in the Paddock with my dad, and we saw Besty close up on the right wing when Utd were attacking towards Gladwys St. It was astonishing to see how he could control a ball. I think we won 2-1, but he gave us a hard time.
Mike Gaynes
63 Posted 10/05/2019 at 00:03:10
Steve #53, AMEN. I don't think Pele gets dismissed out of snobbery, if anything it's fading memories, but honestly I don't think he gets dismissed at all. Very few rank anyone else #1.

Dave and John, I envy you those memories.

James, enjoy the party, but you'll never drink enough to make LeBron better than Jordan on any day ever.

Frank Wade
64 Posted 11/05/2019 at 00:48:26
I'm 100% with my US friends Mike and Jamie, who along with Fran Mitchell and Steve Ferns, have covered all the bases with their detailed responses on Messi's brilliance. I've never seen a player with such footballing skill and vision, but his bravery to keep coming back time and again, facing players willing and able to do him serious harm, is deserving of the accolade.

Messi #1 and Ronaldo #2 for me.

Paul, can't understand your contention that if a player was not lucky enough to play in a World Cup winning team, it could deminish their standing as an outstanding individual and team player.

Jamie Crowley
65 Posted 11/05/2019 at 08:05:44
Flynn @ 56 -

Jordan over LeBron. Fucking Bird over LeBron for fuck's sake!

Gretzky over Lemiuex. Except Bobby Orr, who was the greatest.

Brady over Montana.

And I'll throw this olive branch at you:
Jeter over Nomar.
Just to show I'm not a complete Boston homer.

Keep drinking. ;0)

Tony Cheek
66 Posted 11/05/2019 at 09:23:05
Stan #51. Just think that there are a lot of players that can do what Ronaldo does, its just that he does them all the time. Whereas no player does what Messi does. Of course all the best players have to work hard to get there, but Messi can do his magic without muscle.
Tony Everan
67 Posted 11/05/2019 at 09:42:14
Two titans of the modern game that we have had the pleasure of watching.

I would choose Messi as for me he is a footballing genius and more of a team man than Ronaldo. I would want my team to be a cohesive fighting unit and I feel that warrants Messi's inclusion.

Ronaldo is more of an individual, but I have to concede, a stunning match winning individual. He has it all.

Tomorrow, I will change my mind and choose Ronaldo.

Brent Stephens
68 Posted 11/05/2019 at 10:18:46
Messi has the disadvantage in height - so Messi for me.

From one short arse to another.

Now, Lionel, I want your support (not that one).

Ronaldo seems to have a smoother flow to his trickery. There's just something in Messi's frantic twisting and turning that grabs me.

Stan Schofield
69 Posted 11/05/2019 at 12:50:47
Tony@66: OK, I know what you mean. It reminds of British athletics in the 80s, when we dominated 800m and the mile with Ovett, Coe and Cram. I read a story at the time, where other athletes were asked who was the most talented of those three. The overall response was Cram, where other athletes said that he was the one who was most likely to perform even if he didn't train, because of his natural talent, even accounting for the unusual talent of Ovett and Coe.
Geoff Lambert
70 Posted 11/05/2019 at 13:18:21
Both fantastic players but Ronaldo for me.
Dave Abrahams
71 Posted 11/05/2019 at 13:21:49
Stan (69), It was strange how Ovett and Coe won the Olympic titles in the event that they were expected to finish second in.

I could never take to Sebastian Coe the man while Ovett was much more down to earth and easier to like, turned out that Coe is still hard to like in his role in British and world athletics.

Steve Cram was expected to do better than he did, but was held back by constant injuries.

Stan Schofield
72 Posted 11/05/2019 at 13:54:52
Dave, all three seemed to take turns at breaking a world record from one week to the next.

I agree about Coe and Ovett. In Moscow, when Ovett won the 800m, Coe looked narked and didn't seem to congratulate Ovett. In contrast, when Coe then won the 1500m, Ovett seemed pleased for him and went out of his way to congratulate him. Looks like Coe is a politician, and Ovett just a normal bloke.

Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 11/05/2019 at 14:09:30
Stan (72), your last two lines were “ nail on head”
Jimmy Hogan
74 Posted 12/05/2019 at 13:57:13
Messi has never gone down that whole"CR7" branding, underpant selling route. Ronaldo is the better brand, but Messi, for me, is the best player I have ever seen and I'm old enough to remember Pele in his prime, Cruyff, Maradonna and Zidane,
Lee Brownlie
75 Posted 12/05/2019 at 14:05:41
Ronaldo for me.

Lets put it this way, the other night clearly needing something special to peg Liverpool back, I'm sure Ronaldo would have gone on a one-man goal peppering mission, whereas Messi just started to get dejected.

Not saying 'Ronnie' would necessarily have pulled it off, but I'd rather have him over Lionel Blair, sorry Messi, in my team in this situation. And most other situations, too!!

Lee Brownlie
77 Posted 12/05/2019 at 14:42:56
'Messi' actually seems to refer to the state too many football fans pants get into when this guys name is so much as mentioned!!! Seems to be the default hailing position for the 'I'm a purist' fan. But not me.

So yes, I'm a Ronaldo fan... not that little-boy-in-a beard who trudged disconsolately off the pitch at Anfield the other night!!!

(As for my all-time favourite player, btw, then Bestie... though, in the modern game, for me it has to be Zidane at his peak.)

Tony Everan
78 Posted 12/05/2019 at 14:50:02
I would choose Ronaldo as he is a godlike individual, the ultimate match winner when teams cancel each other out.

Messi is more of a team man and is a footballing genius, it is madness to overlook him.

In Fact, tomorrow, I may change my mind and choose Messi.

Annika Herbert
80 Posted 12/05/2019 at 15:22:03
Messi for me, absolutely no question.
Shane Corcoran
81 Posted 13/05/2019 at 10:47:08
Messi the beter all-round player.
Messi the more likeable.
Messi, the one you want to watch more.
Ronaldo, incredible goalscorer.
Simon Smith
82 Posted 14/05/2019 at 00:15:58
Each to there own but messi for me.

Ronaldo an incredible player, to do what he has done over such a long period puts him up there as an all time great, but for me Messi is the best ever.

Oh and anyone who wants to bring up egos or personalities are simply going off something that shouldn't be a part of this debate.


Who is the better player.



As a footballer I have the upmost respect for Ronaldo, he has dedicated his life to become the best he can be, that needs to be applauded.

Messi has done the same, but imo he has more natural ability and as a result hes tipped it, being loyal to Barca shouldn't be used as a negative, just as Ronaldo being arrogant shouldn't.

People on here have put up Pele as the best, also Maradona, but from what I can see the current game is so demanding on the body, these pros are literally like racehorses, they are in top condition and if you put them back in time they would be incredible, I'm not sure the same can be said about Pele as he was unproven in Europe, or Maradona because he wasn't dedicated enough. They would both have been good, but imo not great like Ronaldo and Messi.

Simon Smith
83 Posted 14/05/2019 at 00:23:01
Over the rape claims I don't believe Ronalso is guilty, that said the debate is about talent, Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, but is anyone going to tell me he isn't as good as Audley Harrison ??
David Ellis
84 Posted 14/05/2019 at 03:07:36
I've hardly ever seen either of them play. They don't play against Everton or England much!
Maradona and Pele for me!
David Peate
85 Posted 14/05/2019 at 05:26:59

Who cares? This is an Everton site. I would not mind if it were a comparison like Royle v. Latchford or Hickson v. Sharp but these two foreigners never have and never will play for us - again who cares? Wrong site!
Seb Niemand
86 Posted 14/05/2019 at 11:04:35
Ronaldo and Messi are like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Astarie (Ronaldo) left you in no doubt he was doing something ludicrously difficult and escaping by the skin of his teeth, but Kelly had raised the extraordinary to a level of insouciant mundanity that we just see as seamless, elegant and natural, like mEssi - and that mitigates against him somewhat. He makes us gasp and rub our eyes at what we have just seen and Ronaldo makes us holler at the sheer outrage of his talent.

But Michael Laudrup was better than both of them.

Steve Ferns
87 Posted 14/05/2019 at 11:57:00
To all those who say Pele is "unproven" in Europe. Have a look at how many games he played on European soil against European sides. And note he averaged more than a goal a game. And yes, these are all friendlies, the same friendlies that he gets mocked for counting the goals he scored in.

Pele v Europe

Dave Abrahams
88 Posted 16/05/2019 at 09:33:34
See (86), I always thought Gene Kelly was enjoying dancing more than Fred Astaire just like Messi.

Was Michael Laudrup better than Renaldo and Messi or
Astaire and Kelly?

Shane Corcoran
89 Posted 16/05/2019 at 11:22:39
David #85, we spend long enough talking about Liverpool FC. Why not this?

You could of course just not click on the link to the page.

Jim Knightley
90 Posted 16/05/2019 at 13:24:55
I wanted to try ToffeeWeb again this summer after leaving it alone for the while because of the usual frustrations.

But then the first thing I see is lots of comments about Ronaldo being better than Messi?! Because...a Euros? And because Messi isn't a big game player?!

I guess a lot of those saying Messi isn't a big game player have watched Liverpool away (in which he set up two golden opportunities after scoring 2 in the home leg) and a couple of other games and ignored the champions league finals in which he has scored, his remarkable individual brilliance in so many classicos, in which he has outshone Ronaldo on many occasions.

And Ronaldo didnt drag Portugal to a Euros win. He missed most of the final ffs and had some average games. It was no more of an achievement than Messi dragging a lop-sided Argentina to a World Cup final. What does international football have to say about a player's overall ability? If Messi wins the Copa this summer does this make him the equivalent of Ronaldo? If Ronaldo had lost in a final he barely played in, would that make him a lesser player? It is a baffling logic (although Ronaldo was only missing as much in the Euros final as he was in two UCL finals in which he was outshone by Bale and Di Maria)

Messi and Ronaldo are incredible players - possibly the best two of all time. But an essential difference is what Messi brings to the team, especially in recent years. Ronaldo has increasingly become a striker - he takes an incredible amount of shots, his spring and movement in the box is unparalleled, and he is ruthless. But Messi is more than his goals or even his assists - he controls the tempo, the game, of Barcelona. He did something that Ronaldo could never have done - he gave something to Barcelona that they lost when Xavi and Iniestia left. So he drops deeper now, is creative, and more importantly defines the game for Barcelona. And this is not a great Barca side. Their midfield is poor - poorer in truth than Real's centre, despite all their troubles. Vidal isn't the player he was and doesnt suit the Barca style. Busquets is miles away from what he was and Rakitic is constrained in a system which doesnt truly suit him and he isn't good enough for it. The defence is dodgy - Pique is a lesser player now and Barca need a new starting CB. And right back hasnt been solved since Alves left. The Liverpool away result wasnt an incredible shock - look at Barca's away record in the UCL of late, especially in big games. There is a fragility to the side that has nothing to do with Messi and it has been that way for a while.

It isn't true to say that Messi has played for better teams or that La Liga has less quality. Ronaldo now plays for a team far better than what the rest of the league has to offer. Napoli are probably the second best and they were pathetic against Arsenal and are so top heavy. He played for Real and bullied smaller teams and truly emerged at a superb United side. If Messi left he'd go to City and play for a side better than his current one. It wouldnt prove anything.

This isn't about the leagues they play in or their international career. They are both sublime goal scorers and the figures are in black and white. But Messi adds a level of creativity, in terms of assists but more fundamentally in terms of control and tempo, which Ronaldo does not.

Bobby Mallon
91 Posted 16/05/2019 at 17:06:15

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