Every player is happy to be compared to Messi, in some respects, even if the comparison is somewhat unrealistic, like “this player is called Messi Thai”. Ronaldo is also happy if he is hailed as “as smart as Einstein”. But the Portuguese superstar is never happy to hear that “the greatest achievement in a player’s life is being compared to Messi”.
The above sentence sounds mocking to Ronaldo. But for many fans, it makes sense. Without living in that comparative atmosphere, the former Real Madrid star will not have the motivation to strive for a long time, so that until the years 35-37, it is still a symbol of global football.
Ronaldo has struggled for many years
Before Messi emerged, Ronaldo was a great talent. A great talent, not yet iconic. When Messi became a top star, Ronaldo changed his attitude seriously, much more actively in practice, competition, lifestyle.
Without Messi, perhaps Ronaldo has the motivation to break goal records and win 5 Golden Balls in his career. In contrast, Messi thanks to the competition with Ronaldo has a higher motivation to strive.
But obviously, in addition to the positive side mentioned above, Ronaldo struggled a lot when he had to compete with Messi, to the point that he couldn’t live peacefully with himself. That is the negative side of competition. That uneasiness has been scattered throughout CR7’s career and has been present with a dense degree in the past 2 months.
This restlessness, or insecurity, turns into narrow-mindedness in the eyes of the mediator. Messi won the world championship with Argentina, CR7 did not congratulate his colleague. Maybe CR7 thinks, “I’m not a hypocrite, I don’t like it, don’t congratulate me, that’s all”.
But between rivals, even the biggest enemy, there is still a great deal of respect, even great respect. Ronaldo’s insecurities began with launching a “media bomb” on the club where he received his salary when the first match of the Portuguese team had not yet taken place, the controversy with teammates in the dressing room and training ground, controversial “Hair of the God” goal, when being substituted…
Ronaldo’s insecurity was also transmitted to the accompanying team. Relatives posted every day to cause storms, insinuating that Portuguese players are just “rats”, my brother can play until 41 years old. Wife Georgina Rodriguez said coach Fernando Santos was wrong when he did not choose Ronaldo in the starting line-up, and warned never to “underestimate the greatest player in the world”.
Have you ever heard Messi’s entourage or wife say something? Never. That’s none of their business. They are prescribed not to do it. Maybe it’s the culture of the Messi family. They feel at peace with Messi and vice versa, they create a peaceful environment for Leo.
And thanks to this peace, Messi has maintained his peak playing form for almost all of the past 18 years. He never felt uncomfortable in comparisons with CR7.
Ronaldo’s achievements are overblown?
Ronaldo has many records in football, you can see them listed in the media everywhere. But many times his achievements are more exaggerated than those of others. He is the only player to score in five World Cups, but has yet to score a single goal in knockout matches.
Another example, Ronaldo holds the world record of scoring 118 goals for the national team. Somewhere 60 of these goals were scored against small teams Armenia, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Andorra, Latvia. 19 out of 118 goals scored by Ronaldo against the top 15 teams on the FIFA rankings, accounting for only 16%. He has never scored against England, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Italy.
Or we still see a familiar image of Ronaldo, holding the ball, stepping up to take free kicks from the fence, puffing out his chest, walking to measure the momentum, then running and kicking very well. But the efficiency is low. Ronaldo has taken 53 free-kicks at the World Cup and Euro tournaments, but those many shots have been exchanged for just one goal, on his 45th, in Spain’s 3-3 draw at the 2018 World Cup.
1 in 53, the success rate is less than 2%. While the average success rate of world-class football is around 7%. That is, the rate is three times worse than the average person taking a free kick. But the only goal he scored against Spain kept being replayed on social media accounts.
Well hyped for Ronaldo, many followers on social media, money earned from big advertising contracts. But don’t count this as the “Greatest of All Time”. It is impossible to assimilate Ronaldo’s followers on social media as his football fans. Many people do not even know which team Ronaldo plays for, which country, where Portugal is located on the map.
Ronaldo freed himself from the shackles
On the night of December in Qatar, Messi won the world championship with the Argentina national team. The debates are over. Compare “Ronaldo or Messi, who is greater?” also ends.
In undisputed sports, Usain Bolt outperformed others in sprinting, or Michael Phelphs in swimming. But in tennis, for example, you can argue all day defending your point of view for Roger Federer, or for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or an older generation like Pete Sampras or Bjorn Borg. Then you start comparing tennis eras, the quality of your opponents, playing styles, and you have a lot of other arguments. The same goes for football, where there are some who are considered the best of the best.
In comparison, Ronaldo was never close to the reach of Pele, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, etc., the creators of inspiration and innovations in football. It is impossible to keep stereotypes about the number of Golden Balls or World Cups to say who is better than who. To compare, you have to look at the pure excellence of each person on the field, leadership skills, team trust, performances in the big moments, game-enriching innovations, impact on the community. …
Still know the “Greatest of All Time” comparison is useless. The comparison between Ronaldo and Messi is even more useless because for decades, it is certain who is better than anyone. But people still have to try to figure out something to compare in order to attract attention, create drama, to sell. On the billboard, there must be 2 people, confront each other as harshly as possible. That’s how Ronaldo was put into sales with Messi.
But from now on, Ronaldo can live in peace with himself, in an inferior position. Only when you accept will you be at peace. He can calmly face the fact that he is no longer as good as he used to be, does not automatically require a starting place in the national team, or is brought in by a big club. You can calmly look for the right club to write the final chapter of your glorious career. A bit late, but better than never.
On December 18, Messi won the world championship, Ronaldo was “freed”.
Chinh Phong | 11:05 12/22/2022