Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are undoubtedly the greatest players of this generation and not many argue that they amongst the very best all of all-time. Both players have dominated the sport for more than a decade and share as many as 11 Ballon d’Or awards between them and football lovers feel lucky to see the kind of brilliance week-in, week-out from two outstanding athletes.
While Messi continues to shine for the only club he represented in his whole career—Barcelona—Ronaldo is now trying his luck in the third different country after registering enormous success in England with Manchester United and in Spain with Real Madrid.
However, despite playing in two different leagues, the debate lingers on amongst fans of both players that who is the real GOAT. To settle this, we are bringing you five reasons which put Messi ahead of Ronaldo in this race and make him the greatest of all time.
#5 Incredible goal against Athletic Bilbao
Fifth in the list is Messi’s incredible solo goal against league rivals Athletic Bilbao in the year 2015. The Argentina international scored a breathtaking solo goal in the Copa del Rey fixture as he dribbled past four players from the opposition and hitting the target on the right side of the goal post which caught Bilbao’s goalkeeper by surprise. It was the goal that was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award as well.
— Dugout (@Dugout) August 16, 2019
#4 Five-star performances against Bayer Leverkusen
Fourth in the list is Messi’s magical performance in the match against Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League. The little magician became the first and till date the only player in the history of Europe’s elite club football competition as he scored five goals in a single match against the German club on March 7, 2012. Messi scored twice before the half-time and added a second-half hat-trick to his tally as the Catalan-based club cruised to a 7-1 easy win.
#3 Six Ballon d’Or awards
#2 2014 World Cup Golden Ball
Second in the list is Messi’s performance for his national team in the World Cup 2014. The left-footed attacker showcased his talent at the highest level in front of the passionate Argentine supporters and nearly took his country to another World Cup triumph. However, Argentina suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 defeat against Germany in the final. Messi scored four goals in the tournament including a sensational winner against Iran which earned him the World Cup Golden Ball award.
#1 91 goals in 2012
First in the list is Messi’s incredible year of 2012. The Argentine international was at the very best in those 12 months as he went on to score as many as 91 goals in just 69 matches. To put this into perspective what Messi did during that duration, let’s just look at the statistics of former England international striker Peter Crouch who finished his career after scoring 145 league goals in nearly 600 matches over the course of two decades and represented clubs like Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. It was the same year when Messi also became the first and till now the only player to have scored five goals in a Champions League fixture.