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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

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Richland Chronicle 4/09/24
Richland Chronicle 4/09/24

GOAT: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

Messi may be better known, but is he really better than Ronaldo?
Messi during the Riyadh soccer match in Saudi Arabia, Jan. 29. (Photos/Associated Press)

Lionel Messi played his second game against FC Dallas on Jan. 22 in preparation for the upcoming MLS season, a game in which FC Dallas came up with the win, scoring in the third minute of the match.
As Inter Miami CF prepared for the season with friendly matches, they headed to Saudi Arabia to face Cristiano Ronaldo and Al Nasr in what shaped up to be the last ever matchup between the two greatest soccer players to play the game. The question remains though, who is the greatest of all time?
Many fans are quick to point out Messi is the undisputed GOAT due to his Ballon d’Or as well as World Cup win in the 2022 campaign.

I would not say, however, that those accolades are what makes one the best player in the world. Messi was awarded the FIFA Best Men’s Player award in 2023 even though his 2023 campaign was not really impressive. He only scored 28 goals and assisted 12 more goals in 44 appearances.

Ronaldo after getting carded at a soccer match in Leichstenstein.

Forty goal contributions are not enough for an award that big. Ronaldo, on the other hand, scored 54 goals and got 15 assists in 59 appearances.
The football world is desperately clinging onto Messi and Ronaldo because no one is ready to imagine a world without Messi and Ronaldo playing in it. They have been influencing the game since the early 2000s, with the 2010s being the pinnacle of the greatest sports rivalry in history.
Ronaldo led Madrid to four Champions League victories, as well as winning it all with Manchester United.
Keep in mind the Red Devils have not won the Champions League since that magical 2007 and 2008 campaign. Messi, on the other hand, has won four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, with his last one being in the 2014 and 2015 season.
When it comes to prestigious tournaments, both Messi and Ronaldo have their fair share of success on the grand stage.
Messi has won the league in both Spain and France, while Ronaldo has gone ahead to win it in Spain, England and Italy. On the international stage, Ronaldo led Portugal to win the Eurocup in 2016, while Messi won the Copa America in 2021 after four failed attempts to win it beforehand, as well as the heartbreaking final in the 2014 World Cup where Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in extra time.
Messi does have the upper hand on international trophies since Argentina is the current defending champion of the world due to their 2022 campaign.
But this is more of a team result rather than individual performance.
All in all, both Messi and Ronaldo have had fantastic careers. They were and still are two of the most electrifying players who have inspired millions, if not billions of young fans to kick the ball around.
Saying one is better than the other is not fair to either since both are products of very high talent as well as hard work.
All I have to say to the fans who try to tear down either Messi or Ronaldo by proclaiming one as the GOAT over the other is this: Enjoy it while it lasts. We may never get a single player who comes close to Messi and Ronaldo at their peak.

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