Betfred Sport

Messi magic overshadows the brilliance of Ronaldo

It seems that week in week out, La Liga legend Lionel Messi is breaking records at his own free will.

Only recently he broke the long-standing record for most Champions League goals for Barcelona, whilst his league and cup goal tallies purely compliment this statistic.

He is the current Ballon D'or holder, as well as the world's best goalscorer.

However, what with all this publicity and awe over the nifty Argentine, there is an elephant the size of a sperm whale in the corner of the room.

No disrespect to Lionel Messi - after all, it's no fluke that he's got to where he has and any recognition to his remarkable talent is well-deserved - but why isn't Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (or Cristiano Ronaldo, as he is better known as) receiving such legendary credentials by the press, the public, and the footballing world?

One of Fergie's best signings

During his time at Manchester United over five years ago, Ronaldo was quickly dubbed one of Sir Alex Ferguson's most successful signings yet during the Scot's 26-year-and-counting managerial reign.

Fair enough, public blunders such as Ronaldo's activity during the 2006 World Cup quarter-final between England and Portugal, whereupon he suggested Wayne Rooney should (and was) sent off for his stamp on Ricardo Carvalho, haven't helped ignite his career for the better - and it's perhaps easy to see why the winger dubbed 'the winker' doesn't get the credit he deserves by some England football fans.

However, his scoring tallies have helped put Real Madrid firmly on course for the La Liga title this year, with newspapers having to constantly create new headlines for each hat-trick or two-goal haul Ronaldo manages - something which is happening almost on a weekly basis in Spain.

Indeed, last month he too broke records, having scored 100 La Liga goals in the fastest amount of time since a player's arrival after his brace against Real Sociedad on 24th March.

This rout was achieved after just 92 games, surpassing the record previously held by Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas. Lionel Messi didn't even come close to breaking it.

Ronaldo’s proud record at United

Whilst at Manchester United, the winger racked up 84 goals in his 196 appearances - almost one goal every two games, and a record any striker would be proud of holding. This was to be just the beginning of a prodigy.

Ronaldo has taken to life in La Liga like a fish to water, with the league's fast-paced openness suiting his playing style to a tee. He's already scored more goals whilst at Real Madrid than he did whilst at United, at a remarkable rate of 1.1 goals per game too.

Bookies are so assured that he will feature on the scoresheet that the odds of him grabbing a goal is often so low it's almost impossible to profit from. It comes as little surprise then that this weekend saw Ronaldo net his seventh hat-trick of the 2011/12 campaign.

To put this in retrospect, since Messi's arrival at Barcelona he's working up 0.76 goals per game - three in every four matches. Fair enough, he did come up through the youth system and thus featured through a string of substitute appearances, but why does he warrant so much more recognition than Ronaldo?

I won't deny that Messi can easily change games. Just his presence alone on a pitch is enough to make any full-back uncomfortable for 90 tortuous minutes.

Ball glued to his feet

But, the same can be said about Ronaldo. Messi also isn't scared to take on defenders - in fact, he is actively jinking around the pitch with the ball glued to his feet and opponents stumbling over themselves just to attempt to get a tackle in - well, so does Ronaldo.

Furthermore, Messi possesses such flair and flawless technique his 1-on-1 finishing is next to nothing - just like Ronaldo's. I'm sure you can see a pattern emerging.

There's nothing more tantalising for a journalist than to compare players, I understand that. However, endless newspapers, magazines and broadcasters revel in comparing these two playmakers yet seem to always edge towards Messi's camp.

Even when they've both delivered man of the match performances, producing goals and creating chances, Messi still triumphs. What gives?

Will Ronaldo ever get his time in the spotlight, or will the three-year gap in Messi's favour prove the ultimate disadvantage to Ronaldo in this ongoing battle?

Either way, Ronaldo's table-topping performances have nowhere near as much recognition that they warrant and this needs to change. He can even score sublime free-kicks - so why is he still second best?

By James Hartnett

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