The never-ending Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi debate over which one is the world’s top player seems to take a different turn on a weekly basis as both goalscorers continue to amaze supporters.
However, the edge might have to sway in Ronaldo’s favor after the Portuguese international and Real Madrid winger took him his fifth Ballon d’Or trophy on Thursday, equalling Messi’s total.
While the soft-spoken Messi usually sits back and doesn’t field questions regarding the debate, Ronaldo doesn’t display any such shyness.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” he told France Football. “I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There’s no player more complete than me.
“I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.
“No-one has won as many individual trophies as me. And I’m not speaking just of the Ballon d’Or. That says something, doesn’t it? It’s not just a result of the work I do in the gym, like some people think. It’s the sum of many things. Legends like Floyd Mayweather and LeBron James don’t get to their perfect level by chance. Many factors coincide. To be at the top and to stay there, you have to have more talent than the others.”
Despite Ronaldo’s countless accolades, the Portuguese attacker says that there was a time in his career when he felt a bit down, but he picked himself back up and found his best form again.
“I won the Ballon d’Or before Messi, then he overtook me and won four in a row,” he said. “I’m not going to hide from you that I was sad and angry. I went to the award ceremonies and I never won. At one point, I was even demotivated. I had no desire to go. To be there for the photo didn’t interest me.
“Then, little by little, thanks to those close to me, I told myself that in life there is a beginning and an end. And in football what counts is the finish, not the start. I was patient. And I won four other Ballons d’Or.”
While Ronaldo’s goalscoring totals dipped a bit in 2016/17, the Real attacker’s ability to show for both club and country surely accounted for a big part in his Ballon d’Or triumph.
The 32-year-old helped Portugal qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while also guiding Los Blancos to a third UEFA Champions League crown in four seasons, to go along with the club’s La Liga title.Follow @MattReedFutbol