The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi has been one of the most talked about topics in world football for the past decade, and is one that is sure to go on well beyond both of their playing days.
Statistically, there’s very little to choose between the two.
Messi has currently played 804 times as a professional, scoring 630 goals, whereas Ronaldo has featured 901 times, hitting the back of the net 645 times.
The two are also level in terms of Ballon d’Or triumphs, with both having been crowned on five occasions.
The statistical comparison between the two could go on, and on, and on, and on. But, whomever you ask, they will always have their favourite.
GIANLUIGI BUFFON WEIGHS IN
Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon has now weighed in with his opinion of the two, and you’ve got to say he’s absolutely nailed his answer.
Although Buffon recognises the Argentine as the more complete player, he also credits Ronaldo for becoming a ‘killer in the penalty area’.
“They are two completely different players,” the 40-year-old told reporters on Thursday, per Goal.
“Messi is more complete, because he starts deeper, has more technical quality and a vision of the game that is worthy more of a trequartista than a finisher.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, perhaps because he is a little older, has become a killer in the penalty area.
“Compared to how he was before, Ronaldo preserves his energy more, so he no longer goes out to the flank for a nutmeg or trick-shot, but with one ball into the box he can create a goal.”
You’ve got to say, that assessment is spot on.
Messi has proven he can do pretty much everything throughout his career, whether it be his passing ability, dribbling skills or finding the back of the net, Messi has proven he is a master in all of those areas.
Ronaldo on the other hand has made the transition from a winger to a central striker in recent years. Whereas he doesn’t contribute much defensively anymore, nor does he go on the same lung-busting runs as he used to, the Portuguese has proven he is still a better goal scorer than Messi.
In the past three seasons, Messi has scored on average 0.9 goals per game for Barcelona, whereas Ronaldo trumps that, having recorded an average of 1.01 goals per game for Real Madrid.
The debate will rage on for many years yet, but Buffon may have provided one of the best answers that anyone has contributed to the debate.