Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly the two best football players today but how did they became each other’s greatest rivals?
There are 2 kinds of people; those who believe the best football player in the world is Lionel Messi, and those who think it is his arch nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo. The main question in today’s football industry is “Who is the best player of today?” These two phenomenal players won the Golden Ball 7 times combined (4-3 for the Argentine) and they are the greatest favourites for this year as well, according to most Ballon d’Or predictions.
• They are the two best players in the world
• Media made them look like enemies
• They both achieved amazing things
• They are each other’s greatest motivation
They are going head-to-head for the Pichichi and the Golden Shoe awards which will be given to the top scorer of La Liga and Europe respectively. We’ll take a look at how the rivalry started and what made the fight of these two so important. This information will prove important for punters before the upcoming El Clasico game, where the two players will face each other again.
The incredible story of how the two legendary players arose
Between the two active legends, Cristiano Ronaldo rose to superstardom earlier. He signed for Manchester United in 2003 and was one of the main performances in EURO 2004 where Portugal reached the final but unfortunately lost to Greece. He was still a teenager at that time yet he was already about to become the world’s greatest football player, according to Portuguese gambling news. By 2007 he fulfilled everyone’s expectations and was named as the best young player and the best player of the Premier League. The Portuguese winger also finished as runner-up for the Golden Ball behind Champions League winner Kaka.
The following season was even better for the number 7 forward. He was top scorer of the Premier League due to his 31 goals in the tournament, which gave him the Player of the Year award once again in addition to the European Golden Shoe. Moreover, Manchester United won the Champions League and he was top scorer of that competition as well. His amazing performance have been acknowledged by experts as well as he took the FIFA Ballon d’Or after finishing second the previous year. It became clear to everyone that a new phenomenon was born.
On the other hand, Lionel Messi was still “just” a young talent trying to still show his skills to the senior Barcelona team. He made his debut for the first team in 2004 and was moved from the B squad in the 2005/06 season. The diminutive Argentine became a regular first team player in the next season and started to slowly make his name in the football world. He scored an amazing hat-trick in El Clasico where Real Madrid took the lead three times but Messi did not let his team lose by equalizing three times.
The Rosario-native became a key factor for FC Barcelona quickly. He finished third for Ballon d’Or in 2007 and second the next year. However, his time finally arrived in 2009 when he lead his team to triumph in Copa del Rey, the Spanish League as well as the Champions League. He was one of the key factors behind the Catalan side’s amazing success due to his many important goals and assists, which finally gave him what he was longing for in the past two years as well. Lionel Messi received the FIFA Golden Ball for his extensive efforts throughout that year.
Success for one and disappointments for the other amplified their rivalry
After claiming his first success in the Gala in Zurich, Barcelona’s number 10 decided not to stop until he won the prize 3 more times. His side won the Spanish Supercup, the European Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup in the beginning of 2009-2010 season, and the Liga BBVA at the end of it. He was named as Best Player of Europe in the Golden Ball Gala once again which was a highly controversial decision. Many football fans criticised the decision because they believed treble-winner Inter star Wesley Sneijder, who lead Netherlands to World Cup final, deserved the title more.
The football legend however did not concern himself with these matters and went on playing his football. He won the Champions League with his team again in 2010-11 and they won the championship as well. In addition, he scored a record amount of goals in 2012, and these results were enough for FIFA to give him the Ballon d’Or 2 more times, which made him the only player in history to receive the coveted prize 4 times.
During Messi’s unbelievable exposure, Cristiano Ronaldo was trying very hard to return to be the best player of the world. He scored tons of goals for Man United and showed amazing performance each game, but somehow it was just not enough to beat his Argentine competitor. He finished as a runner up for the Ballon d’Or title in 2009, 2011 and 2012 as well. Online gambling sites in EU kept reporting how frustrating it made the Portuguese winger.
In 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo signed for FC Barcelona’s greatest rival team, Real Madrid, for a record transfer fee of GBP 80 million (EUR 94 million). This move made the rivalry even tighter between the two sensational footballers as they were not only facing each other in the Champions League, but also in the Spanish domestic tournaments such as Copa del Rey and Liga BBVA. Cristiano promised he will not stop until he usurps Messi again, and he did so in 2013 and 2014, when he won the Golden Ball due to his constant and outstanding performances. As a result, the 4-time winner was runner up on both occasions.
The media played a great role in escalating the competition between the players
Media played an important role in the duel of these two as well as their unbelievable standard of playing. The press introduced the clash between the 2 legendary players as the fight between the good and the bad, the beloved story that is so easy to sell. Choosing which of them will be sold as the hero, and which one will be named as the villain was an easy decision: One of them was a short, quite average-looking person who was in the media due to his performance only so it was clear that Lionel Messi was marketed as “the good boy”.
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo was always presented as the bad guy, the good-looking, self-confident and arrogant person who likes to shine and thinks more about his appearance than his football. The press started picking on him because he had his moments when he was younger. He claimed many times that people hate him because they are jealous of him for being handsome and rich. However, time passed and the Portuguese grew to be a real professional sportsman.
He proved many times that he is not arrogant, but he is a top performer and a determined individual who always wants to be the best. He declared in many interviews that his opinion for success is that you have to believe you are the best at what you are doing or else you have no chance. In addition, he keeps proving wrong all those who believe he is arrogant as for example whenever a fan runs onto the pitch, Cristiano hugs them while at other times keeps the security men away. He also runs many charity organisations and helps people wherever he can.
However, these random acts of kindness are not regarded as interesting news for representatives of the media. Apparently, not even to those of Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) as FIFA President Slepp Blatter himself ridiculed Real Madrid’s world-class player for being like a commander, while Messi is just a “good boy”. Mobile betting sites believe the Argentine will win their next clash as the odds for his team’s triumph are 1.67 (4/6) while those for Real Madrid are 4.50 (7/2) by Bet365.