The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Messi vs. Ronaldo: two of the greatest soccer players, but only one can be named the best

Reporters D'Marcus Marin and Roberto Mendoza go head to head to determine who is the best soccer player.

March 17, 2022

In this column, reporters go head to head, each outlining their side of the argument. (Photo by Sheila Mejia )

Lionel Messi’s footballing takes him to the top

As one of the finest and most exciting footballing talents in the world, serving as a forward or attacking midfielder, Lionel Messi is blessed with outstanding ball control and pace, and is one of the finest players the game has seen.

Messi’s ability to constantly dribble past defenses has been spectacular to watch. He has led the top 5 European leagues in overall successful dribbles over the past 12 years. Messi can thread a through ball between 3+ defenders whether with a ground pass or a long pass; he can locate teammates in narrow spaces and attempt a crazy pass so accurately spectators cannot believe when it is successful.

During his time at Barcelona, he needed to sacrifice his role for his fellow teammate, Luis Suarez, dropping back to midfield and becoming a playmaker first, goal-scorer second. He finished his time at Barcelona with 672 goals and 288 assists.

While Messi is clearly the greatest football player of all time, there are those who may argue Cristiano Ronaldo is equally talented. It is true, when comparing both players in competitions like the Champions League, that Ronaldo has 5 trophies to Messi’s 4. However, Ronaldo cannot beat Messi’s all-time record for most assists, most league goals scored in a calendar year: 59, and current market value of $66 million compared to Ronaldo’s measly $38.5 million.

Messi dribbling between multiple Athletico Madrid defenders, a common sight. (Photo by Fad3n)

Medium blogger Bassel Souki wrote, “Messi has been on both ends of scoring where he ranks in the top 3 best goal scorers ever, and top 5 best playmakers ever which is not the same as assist providers. He is the greatest player in football history. Lionel Messi can change from striker to winger, to central and attacking midfielder whenever he wants, and that is what separates him from his footballing rivals throughout history.

Ballon d’Or winner and former 2-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho, stated about Messi, “He is the best in the world, and there’s nothing more to be said.”

According to Sporting News, the Ballon d’Or, which translates into “Golden Ball”, is an annual award that is presented by France Football magazine to the male football player who is regarded to be the very best in the world. Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record 7 times, the most awarded in history.

Lionel Messi with all of his Ballon D’Ors at one of the award ceremonies. (Photo by Ligue 1)

“I prefer Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo but I acknowledge that the latter is an animal. Football history will remember Messi. Football has given him a lot, as much as he has given the sport and to win a World Cup, in my opinion, wouldn’t bring himself anything else,” said Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

Messi is one-of-a-kind: the best footballer of all time. His laser-like vision and awareness make him an incredible threat on the field. He sees the field in movement of players nobody else can before they even happen and does it very often. His magical left foot hits curling free-kicks and precise through balls. The Argentine has everything: dribbling, passing, vision, finishing, pace, ball control, balance, speed, acceleration, intelligence, and he is not just good in these qualities, he is a master. And, Messi is the only master to use all of these qualities consistently to score or gather up assists.

Every person that understands football knows this. It’s absolutely ridiculous to me that some people actually think Messi isn’t the best. This isn’t about Cristiano at all. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best goalscorers ever. This is about how ridiculously good Messi is,” said Dutch football player Johan Cruyff. 

Students at West Chicago Community High School were split on the matter, but Messi still took a slight lead: in a survey of 167 students, 50.3% agreed Messi was the top soccer player.

Messi holding his jersey after scoring an equalizer against rival Real Madrid. (Photo by SPORTbible)

“Messi [is] the all-time greatest player in the world. Nothing can stop him. Nobody can beat him,” said senior Aldo Flores.

Senior Jose Paramo said, “Messi is better skill-wise, finesse shots, freekicks, bro, master of the freekicks, left foot, best left foot ever.”

Although Messi is turning 35 in June, he should move forward in his career in PSG to continue breaking records and win the team a Champions League title.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s natural talent makes him the G.O.A.T.

The greatest player to ever step foot on a football pitch is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo was not born as gifted as Lionel Messi,  and so , from an incredibly young age, had to work hard to get where he is today. His work ethic and mentality is why he is still at the top of his game at the age of 37. Unlike Messi, who only depends on his natural talent, Ronaldo is a diverse player in 3 of Europe’s top 5 leagues: Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain), and the Premier League (England). Messi only plays in 2 leagues after transferring from FC Barcelona (Spain) to PSG (France) in 2021. Ronaldo repeatedly demonstrates his versatility as a player, and more importantly, is able to produce results whereas Messi is failing to do so this year.

Cristiano Ronaldo holding up his jersey after rival Leo Messi did the same against Madrid in their previous meeting. (Photo by The Guardian)

Today, the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo,” said legendary Brazilian soccer player Pele in an interview with YouTube channel Pilhado.

Consistency is key to Ronaldo’s success. Scoring a total of 801 career goals becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in all competitions. Ronaldo takes care of his body with his outstanding physique.

Cristiano is the best. Messi is his rival and it’s the rivalry everyone wants to see, but Ronaldo is phenomenal. There are no words to describe him. He is much better than me even though I had a great career. He’s the greatest of all time,” said Zinedine Zidane, 3-time Champions league winner.

There is no denying Ronaldo is the greatest of all time: he has shown his athleticism in the biggest stages of the game repeatedly. For example, Ronaldo has more Champions Leagues won than most major clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City, Inter Milan, Manchester United Liverpool and not to mention has the same mount as FC Barcelona To be still performing at the top level at the age of 37 is just phenomenal. Some may say his time is coming to an end being 37 years old is the retirement age in the game of soccer/football it may be true for Messi who is 34 years old is already showing he can’t last Ronaldo and can’t perform in big games or any game only scoring 6 goals in all competitions this year in a total of 1342 minutes played not to mention Lionel Messi has the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Donnarumma, Marquinos, Di Maria and still cannot win a Champions League title.

Ronaldo showing everyone that he has 5 Champions League wins in his most recent win in 2018 (Photo by UEFA)

Ronaldo also has 5 Champions League wins, proving he has the athletic prowess to succeed in the hardest competition in Europe. He also won the 2016 UEFA Euro Championships with the Portuguese national team, and earned 5 Ballon D’Ors, winning 4 of them in a 5-year period.

While Ronaldo, at the age of 37, transferred to play in the most competitive league in Europe (the Premier League), he continues to thrive in the sport, and is now fighting for a Champions League place for Manchester United. On March 12, 2022, Ronaldo achieved a hat trick against Tottenham Hotspur to give Manchester United a much-needed 3 points for the push for a Champions League place.

Photo taken after Ronaldo broke the world record for being the men’s highest international scoring player. (Photo by Sky News )

When Ronaldo’s time comes to an end – which doesn’t seem like it will anytime soon due to his amazing physical condition – he could become a great coach. In fact, with his winning mentality and leadership skills, he could become one of the most decorated players and coaches of all time.


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