Cristiano Ronaldo captured his first major trophy with Portugal and that has added international honours to his long list of club medals. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, failed to take Argentina over the line in the Copa America final against Chile. So, has Ronaldo now surpassed Messi as the greatest footballer of this generation?
Who would you pick if you were coach?
Novy Kapadia: If I was looking for a striker, I would pick Cristiano Ronaldo. I don’t think anyone can head the ball better than him, only Alan Shearer could.
Scott O’ Donell: For me the best thing about Messi is that he is a team player. He provides as many assists as he scores. Ronaldo will never pass the ball if he thinks he can score. If I was coach and had to choose between the two, I would pick Messi any day.
Ronaldo mentally tougher than Messi?
Novy Kapadia: In mental toughness Ronaldo has gone a step ahead of Messi after winning the Euro. He took Portugal to the final, and even though he played just 15 minutes, he was inspirational from the outside. One thing is certain now: Ronaldo is winning his fourth Ballon d’or.
Scott O’ Donell: How can one game in which Ronaldo didn’t contribute enough make him mentally tougher. In fact I thought Portugal benefitted when Ronaldo left the field because he isn’t known for his defensive abilities, and when he was substituted, it allowed Portugal to play 10 men in defence that proved to be the winning strategy in the end. Also how can Ronaldo be mentally tougher when he allows emotions to get in the way of how he plays. Messi on the other hand gets kicked, but he gets up. He doesn’t argue with the referee, doesn’t argue with his coaches. He just gets up and does his job.
Messi more prolific goal scorer than Ronaldo?
Scott O’ Donell: When has Ronaldo played for a weak club team? Manchester United and Real Madrid had stars as big as anyone playing alongside Ronaldo.
Messi doesn’t have a major international title
Scott O’ Donell: I would count the 2008 Olympic gold and the Under-20 World Cup that Messi won with Argentina as major international titles. Yes, the Olympic team is made up of under-23 players and only three senior players are allowed, but ask Brazil how important an Olympic gold in football is, a title they have never won, and are so desperate to win that they decided to rest their star player Neymar for the Copa America Centenario, so that he could play at the Rio Olympics.
Novy Kapadia: Olympic gold is indeed a great achievement. But the pressure one feels at the Euro is only second to the World Cup.