Cristiano Ronaldo, last week, clinched the Ballon d’Or for the fifth time to claim same level with his rival Lionel Messi par number of times of winning the coveted accolade. It was for him a remarkable way of capping off a very eventful year, having scored 42 goals in all competitions during the 2016-2017 season, during which he led Real Madrid to win a second UEFA Champions League title in three years, a La Liga title the club World Cup title.
In comparison with Messi, the Real Madrid star and 2017 Best FIFA Men’s Player, was the first player to win the accolade in 2008-2009 season, then a 23-year-old and playing for Manchester United. Then, Messi followed to clinch the accolade in four consecutive seasons from 2009 -2012 and also emerged the champions league top scorer in the 3 seasons.
Ronaldo, 32, and Lionel Messi, 30, over the past decade have rivalled each other and are referred to as amongst the greatest players to have ever graced the world football, going head to head in individual awards and helping their clubs and national teams to glories.
The comparison between the two football legends is a talk of the world, polarising opinions among football lovers who is better. Some people believe that Messi has a natural talent, with the ability to dribble past defenders, produce killer passes and accelerate with the ball at his feet. Others Ronaldo who is more athletic, makes solo run and has improved over the years through dedication.
While their rivalry is expected to end one day, the Real Madrid star is showing no signs of stopping soon and he told reporters at the Balloon d’Or ceremony that the rivalry between the two is just about to start as he hopes to finish his career at Real Madrid.
“I hope I can play at the greatest level for a few years,” he said. “The battle continues with Messi. We are doing the best we can for our teams. I think things are happening for a reason.”
He continued: “I feel good, let’s see what happens in the future. I’m happy at Real and I want to stay and finish my career there (Real Madrid) if possible.”
Messi, on the other hand, is not resting on his laurels, as his electric form of recent helped Argentina to book a place in the World cup to be played in Russia 2018 and also helping Barcelona to the top of the La liga table ahead of Real Madrid with 13 goals in 14 games. In short, he’s firing on all cylinders, reminding the world that he is yet to reach his peak, despite being in his 30s.
In a mini poll conducted on social media amongst fans of the football biggest stars to ascertain if it was time for the world to see an end to the rivalry between the pair, many were not sure of the rivalry ending soon, with many open to the idea of having to enjoy the competition between the duo for an extended period of time.
One particular response read, “Maybe not…while Messi is having a relatively good time with the La liga, Ronaldo is making the Champions League a fortress for himself.” Another comment sounded more confident about the rivalry not ending anytime soon unless Brazil wins the world cup in which will see Neymar – the current most expensive player – end the dominance.
Other candidates also tipped to end the duo’s dominance include familiar names who have shown sparks of brilliance over the years are Isco, Eden Hazard, Antonio Griezmann, Paulo Dybala, Kevin De Bruyne, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Philip Coutinho, Manchester United prodigy Marcus Rashford and French sensation Kylian Mbappe – who ranked 7th on the list – all making a remarkable list altogether.
With Almost 12 months before another Balloon d’Or winner is announced, and the World Cup in Russia approaching, and many players displaying impressive showings, maybe we’ll most certainly have a break from seeing these two legends take centre stage again.
Nonetheless, we must be grateful for having to witness these two greats in our era, and as we countdown to another award ceremony maybe both players will watch another player get the prize they have shared for a decade and probably not. We shall watch as things unfold over the next few months.
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