Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi and other rivalries in football

Ronaldo has lived an illustrious and decorated career that will be almost impossible for any other player to ever match in the future. Let’s have a look at some of his famous rivalries across his 20-year career.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a goal for Manchester United; Credit: [email protected]

Big game player, Mr. Clutch and what not. One just runs out of narratives to describe Cristiano Ronaldo. No one has scored more official goals in the history of football than the Portuguese. Arguably the greatest man to ever play the game, Ronaldo has lived an illustrious career that will be almost impossible for any other player to ever match in the future. His glory has been a goal that a majority of footballers have failed to achieve. The five-time Ballon D’Or winner is famous for his ambition to achieve anything he wants. Been described by his teammates as a ‘Phenomenon’, the Portuguese skipper has had a good share of rivals and disputes over his career. However, few of his rivals can say that they have even come near to touching the fame and achievements Ronaldo enjoys. Let’s have a look at some of his famous rivalries.

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Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi

The rivalry which has defined world football over the years, the rivalry which has divided world football into two, the rivalry which has shaped the future of football. The God of Argentina vs The Machine of Portugal. The little magician against the inevitable man. These are some of the headlines that have caught the eyes whenever Lionel Messi has faced Cristiano Ronaldo. Probably the peak of any rivalry in any sport, both the superstars have pushed each other to levels that haven’t been achieved by anyone in footballing history. Face of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in their prime, Ronaldo and Messi have never failed to spark the moment of brilliance that made the El Clasico the most anticipated fixture for majority of the last decade.

Head to Head Comparison

While Messi has more Ballon D’Ors, no-one has more Champions League trophies than Cristiano Ronaldo. One has the most goals in the history of the sport, while one is top assister of all time. Both have achieved success on the international stage. While Messi enjoys a superior record in domestic football, Ronaldo is way ahead of his long-time rival when it comes to the Champions League. Messi has six Golden Boots to Ronaldo’s four while Ronaldo has won more UEFA Best Player Award. Both the superstars are now nearing their retirement but they have set the standards very high for the upcoming prodigies.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Gerard Pique

Initially teammates at Manchester United, Ronaldo and Pique have endured a stressful relationship over the years. As soon as Pique moved to Barcelona, he became an integral part of the Catalan team’s success. This was followed by Ronaldo’s famous transfer to Real Madrid. Soon their rivalry blossomed, with the best attacker of Madrid against the best defender of Barcelona. The Portuguese has overall maintained an upper hand against Pique. The Spaniard’s particular discontentment with Real Madrid has further sparked his feud with Ronaldo. During the 2018 World Cup match between Portugal and Spain, Ronaldo won a free-kick off Pique and proceeded to score the set-piece. Pique later accused the Poturguese captain of diving, saying, “Ronaldo is prone to diving”. Despite their several disagreements, both the players have maintained a professional rivalry and respected each other in the media most of the times.

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Cristiano Ronaldo vs Kaka

Ronaldo’s first ever rival in his long career was undoubtedly Kaka. Ronaldo had announced himself to world stage during the 2006-07 season while Kaka had established himself as a key part of the famous AC Milan team under Carlo Ancelotti. No wonder the two stars drew comparisons to each other and as the season went by the rivalry just got better and better. The two legends of the game two years later found themselves playing as teammates for Real Madrid. Their rivalry was short however its peak will be hard to match by any other rivalry in the future.

2007 Champions League

The stage was the 2006-07 Champions League semi-finals and the teams were Manchester United and AC Milan. Both the clubs had seen their best players produce splendid performances and drive them to the penultimate stage of the biggest club competition. The first leg at Old Trafford although saw Manchester United triumphant 3-2 with Ronaldo scoring a goal but all the headlines featured Kaka who scored two absolute wonderful goals with his second one being still fresh in the minds where he skipped past two defenders with ease and buried the ball past the goalkeeper. In the return leg, Kaka scored another goal and ensured Milan qualified for the finals.

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Cristiano Ronaldo vs Dani Alves

Dani Alves has been one of the defenders who have been able to contain Cristiano Ronaldo. Playing as a right-back for the Barcelona team for most of the 2010s, the Brazilian used to find himself defending 1v1s against the best left-winger in the world. Both the footballers proved to be a menace to each other, with Dani Alves providing a tough test for Ronaldo at all times. This rivalry has also witnessed some iconic moments like the nutmeg by Dani Alves in the El Clasico in 2013 at the Camp Nou. Alves stated in 2015 that Ronaldo was selfish and not influential further adding fire to their rivalry. However, five years later the tensions between them were much low with the right back mentioning Ronaldo as the toughest opponent he ever faced.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Neymar

While the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry always made the headlines, Neymar too provided a stern competition to Ronaldo during the peak days of El Clasico. With both being deployed on the left-side of the attack, both the players drew serious comparisons with many arguing that Neymar was the heir to the left-wing position that was for such a long time made by Ronaldo as his own. Ronaldo excels in air with a brilliant game with Neymar being one of the most technically gifted players in the world. Two completely different playstyles but very similar in terms of their influence on the game. Their rivalry carried on to off-field with both players endorsing the Nike brand at the same time and enjoying lot of fame and popularity outside the footballing world. However, in the recent years, Neymar’s performances have started to decline with Ronaldo still operating amongst the best players in the world.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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