Commentary

Ronaldo claims, again, to be better than Messi

Just in case there was any doubt in anyone’s mind regarding which player stands alone at the pinnacle, Cristiano Ronaldo has reiterated his thoughts on the matter.

“In my mind, I'm always the best,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “I don't care what people think, what they say. In my mind, not just this year but always, I'm always the best.

“I don't need to say ‘I’m in the history of football, I'm a legend.’ The numbers say everything.”

The numbers are indeed incredible. Ronaldo is one of the few players whose staggering accomplishments match his rambunctious ego:

-- 504 goals in 760 club appearances, which include a club record 326 goals in 314 matches for Real Madrid, and 188 goals in 292 appearances for Manchester United;

-- A record 82 goals in Champions League play;

-- A record 55 goals in 123 appearances for Portugal;

-- Three World Footballer of the Year awards.

For several years, he and Argentine superstar Lionel Messi have been regarded as the best players of the current generation and during the interview he addressed the issue yet again. “It's opinions, I respect the opinions,” he said. “Maybe in your opinion Messi is better than me, but in my mind I am better than him. So it's simple.”

Choosing between the two is certainly simple in one regard, that of personality. Messi is low-key, Ronaldo is high and mighty. That doesn’t make him better or worse than Messi, just as different off the field as they are on the field of play. Believing whether Ronaldo is arrogant or supremely confident depends on your perspective, and if you prefer your superstar athletes to be humbler, Messi is your guy.

When you rack up the numbers and accomplishments of these two men, arguing on objective grounds really makes little sense. Both are so remarkable, so amazingly spectacular, that a choice between the two boils down to nuances and personal preference as to style. Yet it's great fodder for chat rooms, bar conversations, and TV punditry. 

Everything about the men is perfectly poised to trigger intense debate. They play for two of the bitterest rivals in all of sport as well as for nations on polar opposites of the global game.

Ronaldo’s lavish lifestyle -- he is pictured in a tuxedo almost as often as in the Real shirt -- and string of glamorous girlfriends clashes with Messi’s much more private persona. If you see Messi in a tux, most likely he’s attending a soccer awards ceremony, not trodding on the red carpet of a film premiere. He and his partner, Antonella Roccuzzo, have two sons.

Messi, 28, is two years younger than Ronaldo and has four World Footballer of the Year awards on his resume. For Barcelona, he’s scored 418 goals in 492 appearances. Aside from a tax-fraud case involving him and his father, Jorge Messi, he’s rarely in the public spotlight away from the game.

In the BBC interview, Ronaldo did a Q&A with editor Dan Roan in which he touched on a few subjects other than his greatness, including a film about his life, Ronaldo, scheduled for release on Monday.

Dan Roan: Is it sad for you to see Manchester United not quite at the level they were before?

Cristiano Ronaldo: For me it's hard to see that because it's a club that I love. Of course I want to see Manchester United at the level that it was in the past. Like, for example, Sporting Lisbon was my first professional club. I like to see the clubs that I like at the top and I think Manchester this season is better, but I think they still have work to do to be at the level of six, seven years ago.

DR: What possibility is there of you going back to Manchester United one day?

CR: As I say many, many times, the future nobody knows. At this moment I'm so glad and happy here in Real Madrid but the future nobody knows. I will say this answer all the time because the future nobody knows, but I'm good here. I still have a contract with Real Madrid and I'm happy here.

DR: You've made a film telling your life story. What's it like being a footballing superstar?

CR: It's great. This has given me motivation to still work hard and better in my job but I have to say to be in my shoes is not easy. But I'm not complaining. I just want to say that. I feel happy. All this happens because of a reason. The reason is I'm unbelievable inside the pitch. This is why the people have so much interest on me. So it's as simple as that. I'm good, I'm happy, I'm motivated all the time. I'm very professional and I want to carry on like that.

DR: You played under Jose Mourinho for three seasons here at Real Madrid. He's going through a tough spell now. Are you surprised by that?

CR: I'm not surprised because in football anything can happen. Of course, he's a manager that I was working with for two years and I know his potential. I know that not just him but Chelsea are in this tough situation. As a Portuguese man, I want to see the Portuguese at the top level all the time. So this is what I wish for him that he can go through this bad situation and make Chelsea fans happy because they deserve it.

 

5 comments about "Ronaldo claims, again, to be better than Messi".
  1. James e Chandler, November 6, 2015 at 9:22 a.m.

    There's one thing that Ronaldo is better at than Messi.
    Arrogance.
    C'mon by the house Christiano. I'll sic the dog on ya.

  2. Nalin Carney, November 6, 2015 at 11:03 a.m.

    TWO OF THE GREATEST EVER....NO DOUBT IN MY MIND.

  3. beautiful game, November 6, 2015 at 3:28 p.m.

    Awesome players; to have two super players in the same generation is for all to behold.

  4. Richard Brown, November 16, 2015 at 8:52 a.m.

    Hey it starts with confidence Ronaldo has confidence, but that does make him better.

  5. Claudette Hemmings, December 1, 2015 at 3:22 p.m.

    What is wrong in having confidence in yourself? If Ronaldo did not have confidence he could not play at the level he plays. Read the comments that Tim Howard made when asked about Ronaldo. I think Tim's view is that of someone you can all respect; but then I could be wrong in that he may not be saying what you want to hear.

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