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Huskies Unleashed

Huskies Unleashed

The Great Messi vs Ronaldo Debate

Is it necessary?

For the entirety of their careers, people have constantly debated on who is the G.O.A.T between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, comparing their goals, assists, trophies, and even their personalities to each other. However, this debate is absurd and useless as it fails to capture the true essence of what being the GOAT means, which is essentially the most successful and accomplished player in the history of the sport since, past these basic level stats, there is nothing comparable about these two players.

For one thing, despite occupying similar positions, Messi and Ronaldo are two different players, whose approaches differ significantly. For example, as wingers, Ronaldo relied on his pace and ball skills to move the ball up the field while Messi relied on quickness and vision. As strikers, Ronaldo relied on his strength to move past defenders while Messi relied on finesse and agility. Even as general players, Ronaldo tends to focus on controlling the pace of the game and keeping possession while Messi prefers to hang back and focus on tactical awareness to create opportunity. Due to his goal-scoring endeavours, a common misconception about Ronaldo is that he is more selfish than Messi when in reality they are both equally selfish. They both have the skills to be selfish and besides it’s not like we know them personally to decide who’s more selfish. At the end of the day, they both have the same goal: score.

Going back to the original point, aiding their different playing styles, Messi and Ronaldo’s contrasting physical attributes fundamentally shape their differing gameplays. Ronaldo’s towering stature is what allows him an advantage in speed as his long strides allow him to gain ground on his opponents, and with crosses in the box, with a vertical of 9 feet approximately. Additionally, Ronaldo is a muscular player, which provides him with the physical strength to go one-on-one against defenders and the shot power to score goals successfully. Ronaldo, although being a dominant righty, is also able to kick with both feet, making him a threat on all sides of the pitch. Messi, on the other hand, is shorter in height and average in footballer strength, which makes him less of a threat to players, both physically and speed-wise; he instead opts to hang back and tactically observe the play until he sees an attacking opportunity he can exploit. Additionally, in contrast to Ronaldo, Messi is a dominant lefty and can only kick with that foot, so he sticks to that side of the field. Going back to his physical strength, his weaker shot power is why he spends more time passing to teammates and going closer to the net than he does shooting at the net.

Moreover, as mentioned before, fans involved in the debate also compare Messi and Ronaldo’s trophies to each other, and, to me, this is the most absurd of all arguments. For one thing, the Golden Boot Award doesn’t account for multiple factors that affect goal-scoring opportunities, such as the length of a match, the longevity of a team’s tenure within a tournament, fouls, injury, substitution, match difficulty, etc. For those saying that Ronaldo had more years than Messi to gain more golden boots, remember, one, he has more career goals in general, and, two, all the previous factors just listed. Moving on, the Balloon D’or award is purely based on those surface-level stats – goals, assists, etc. – that are just not relevant to the debate. Lastly, and most ridiculous, in my opinion, is the comparison of Argentina’s World Cup win to Cristiano Ronaldo. Note that it was referred to as Argentina’s World Cup win, not Messi’s. Too often people say Messi is the G.O.A.T. because he won the World Cup, and while he, as the front man for Argentina, is responsible for most goals, they would not be possible without his team. Players like Di Maria, Mac Allister, and Acuna made it possible; meanwhile, Portugal is filled with mid-players, aside from Ronaldo. So the next time you want to claim that Messi is the G.O.A.T. because he won the World Cup for his country, think about that.

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Sam Piper, Editor

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