The rivalry between two of the best players in the world over the past two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has been one of the best in footballing history and still continues to be one which we fans cherish and want to see more of in the coming days as well. As Lione Messi lifted his seventh Ballon d’Or trophy this year, edging his Portuguese counterpart by two many have passed the verdict that he is the real GOAT of football.
However, many are still of the belief that Cristiano Ronaldo still remains the best of the lot, and the number of Ballon d’Or awards would not change the fact. Among them remains Ronaldo himself, who has continued to maintain the fact almost from his starting days in football, that he is the best in football and Lionel Messi is second to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has 5 Ballon d’Or titles to his name whereas Lionel Messi recently won his 7th
In all of these years, whenever quizzed on the subject of the GOAT debate, Ronaldo has strongly campaigned for himself, and we take a look into a few instances when this really happened either on live television or press conferences.
Before winning his first Ballon d’Or title in 2008, Ronaldo had said, “I’m the best player in the world, the second-best player in the world and the third-best player in the world. There are some more good players in the level behind me like Kaká, Torres and maybe Messi a bit, but I did all it takes to be the best”.
Showing more signs of his obsession for Lionel Messi, the Manchester United no. 7 once again vented out his anger in 2012, after losing the previous three Ballon d’Or titles, saying, “I should’ve won the last 3 Ballon d’Ors, but it doesn’t depend on me”.
Cristiano Ronaldo was once again angered by the fact that Messi had not voted for him despite winning the Ballon d’Or title that year, and vented out, “It doesn’t surprise me that Messi didn’t vote for me in the Ballon D’or, we know the reason”.
In a famous interview with Piers Morgan back in 2015, Ronaldo ha spoke of his desire to win more Golden balls than Lionel Messi, in order to be known as the best individual player in football of all time, however, he sensationally backtracked on his statement this year.
Cristiano Ronaldo has also challenged Messi to take up newer challenges in his career after he made the move to Juventus from Real Madrid.
“Like me, accept the challenge. He might need more. But, if he‘s still there, I respect him. The numbers do the talking and if you check the statistics, you’ll see. I’ve tried to bring success to every club I’ve played in and the national team and I don’t have anything to prove,” said Ronaldo of wanting to see Messi join a new club, which eventually happened this year when he left Barcelona to join PSG.
After all, this subtle battle between the two has been shown before makes them go that extra inch to be better than the other. Let us know your pick as to who you think is the real GOAT of football in the modern era.