Ronaldo and Messi, two legends of the modern game, are often touted by their supporters as the GOAT, Greatest of All Time.
Both have amassed some compelling statistics to back up this claim, so let’s check them out.
Lionel Messi has won 5 Ballon d’Or’s in a glittering club career with Barcelona, his only senior domestic club. In his 632 club appearances he has scored over 552 goals and won 32 trophies. At international level he was expected to deliver, however his 4 World Cup campaigns resulted in only once getting to the final, losing to Germany in 2014. His skills create opportunities whilst his vision makes others play better.
Likewise, Ronaldo has had a great club career and also has won 5 Ballon d’Ors. Ironically both Ronaldo and Messi have also finished 2nd in this competition five times each. This year will be the tie-breaker, as football journalists around the world vote for their player of the year. Ronaldo is quick, dynamic and has scored goals and won titles at both Manchester United and Real Madrid. His 761 club starts have resulted in 573 goals, a slightly lower percentage. However his goals have powered Madrid’s dominant performances in the recent Champions League competitions.
Messi has a better scoring ratio, however Ronaldo brings success. The goal-scoring talents of both however are undoubted.
You’ll never get consensus on who is the greatest of all time, although you could add these two to a list of ten players also in contention. Old timers will always argue for the inclusion of George Best, Eusebio, Ferenc Puskas, or Alfredo Di Stefano in these lists.
However the main contenders remain ;-
Pele, a goal scoring machine with well over 1200 goals to his credit. First scored for Brazil when still 16, he went on to win 3 World Cups, 1958, 1962, and 1970.
Diego Maradona, the skilful Argentina playmaker, who also made his international debut at 16. Played in 4 World Cup campaigns, winning one (1986).
Johan Cruyff, the Dutch maestro who was the Golden Ball winner as best player in the Netherlands world cup campaign in 1974 and won the Ballon d’Or 3 times. He was also influential in changing the style of play.
Franz Beckenbauer, the Empörer from West Germany has finished first, second and third at World Cups
Zinadine Zidane, the elegant attacking midfielder for France won the 1998 World Cup and was sent off in the final in 2006. He was voted FIFA World Player of the Year 1998, 2000, and 2003
and Ronaldo (the original from Brazil) a dribbling striker, selected for 4 World Cup squads with Brasil, the first when he was just 17. He won 2 World Cups and caused worldwide concern when he took a fit just before another WC final (1998 which they then lost to France)
All of these may have made their name in World Cups and international competition, but they also backed it up over long careers at club level.
Ronaldo has helped deliver the European Championship to Portugal, however Messi has not quite delivered at international level. Unfortunately when it comes to the World Cup, Ronaldo and Messi have amassed only 13 goals and 7 assists between them. Brazil’s Ronaldo on his own at World Cups has 15 goals and 8 assists.
So Greatest of All Time is a pretty big claim. There’s no doubt though that both Ronaldo and Messi are the Greatest of Our Time. They’re our GOOT’s. They drive our passion. We should just be pleased we had the opportunity to watch them, support them and be inspired by them.