Connect in the back of the net
In recent weeks, the humble Cristiano Ronaldo has boasted about being the best player in the world to CNN and has given “himself” a 10/10 for his individual season. Jose Mourinho has said it would be an injustice if his star striker does not win the Ballon d’Or. Para mi,  I remain unmoved in my opinion that Messi remains the best. 

For the record, I don’t believe Jose is being truly altruistic when he makes such claims. If Ronaldo were to win the Ballon d’Or it would reflect well on Mourinho, that he coached the winner, further boosting his ego and plaudits. 

You have to realise it’s been many years since Real Madrid last had a winner making such a hypothetical situation grander. Remember, this is the same Mourinho that previously called Zlatan Ibrahimovic the best around when it was clearly untrue and has made disparaging remarks towards Ronaldo before moving to the Spanish capital.

As great as Cristiano Ronaldo is, he is not as good as Lionel Messi, even if he has won his first La Liga title.

Winning the league does not mean you’re the best in the world especially when your team has a better defence and you have two fantastic strikers in Higuain and Benzema to chip in with over 20 goals. The statistics show that if you take away Ronaldo’s goals from Real Madrid, the Blancos would still win La Liga. 

If you were to do the same with Lionel Messi, Real’s greatest rivals Barcelona would be in 6th place, out of a Champions League spot. 

This helps convey just how much more influential Messi is for Barcelona, than Ronaldo is for Real. Messi has scored an incredible 72 goals this season, beating Gerd Muller’s long standing record and the next highest scorer on the his team is Alexis Sanchez with a modest 15 goals. Such a startling stat is a potent depiction of how Messi almost carries his team’s attacking burden in the final third on his shoulders.

Taken from BBC Sport

Then, you have the simple fact that Messi has scored more than Cristiano Ronaldo, in the league and in Europe for the fourth time in a row. Also, Messi’s 28 assists this season completely dwarfs Ronaldo’s 16 despite Madrid’s side having much better finishers. Statistics are always useful in such debates but they can’t always tell the whole story.

They can’t portray how Messi players better than Ronaldo for his team the majority of the time. Ronaldo has become more of a goal machine under Mourinho, not so aesthetically pleasing on the eye but gets the job done. Messi still gets the job done for Barcelona and carries that air of genius that completely take one’s breath away. It’s the reason why at only 24, it’s Messi not Ronaldo, who is widely touted as “the best ever.” 

Statistics can’t qualify how Lionel Messi, 99.9% of the time chooses to ride tackles and continue his mission towards goal than go down at the slightest touch unlike his Portuguese media rival. 

Such an attitude to playing the beautiful game is an advantage for the Argentine in these “best player in the world” debates as it not only reflects on his honesty, but his incredible dribbling ability. It’s no surprise that every single year Messi completes the most dribbles in Europe.

I have come across one of the greatest football videos I’ve ever seen and I must share it with you all. This is  Messi refusing to dive:

13 minutes of  a fearless Messi, riding challenge after challenge. Staying on his feet no matter the situation, regardless of how much bigger the opponent is. Even when tackled in the box! It’s like watching old clips of George Best at his very finest. 

For me, this video shows how the beautiful game should be played, with complete integrity and honesty. I am not exaggerating when I say it would be very difficult to make a 3 minute “never dive” video compilation for Ronaldo. This is despite Cristiano being much bigger than Messi in frame.

I cannot see how any neutral fan of the beautiful game, watching this video cannot enjoy such an amazing display of determination, courage and technical skills. 

Messi’s ability to stay on his feet and continue his team’s play is rarely put into stats but it’s another reason (along with many others) why the Argentine is the best player in the world and one of the best ever.

Written by Chim
Follow me on Twitter @footballgroundup
Check out his wonderful blog, Football Ground Up

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