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The world's greatest footballers - but who's the best?

The battle of Messi vs Ronaldo has the world gripped.

In this website, they go head to head in terms of goals, stats, achievements, abilities and much more.

Always up-to-date, reliable and accurate, this is your main port of call to see who's currently leading the constant back-and-forth battle for the golden boot.


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Last Stats Update: 19 Oct 21:45 GMT

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Who Should Win the Ballon d’Or?

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The 3-man shortlist has now been revealed for this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or award and for the 7th time in 8 years, Messi and Ronaldo make up 2 thirds of it; the only blip courtesy of Ronaldo in 2010 who missed out thanks to Iniesta and Xavi, both World Cup winners that year with Spain.

Messi currently leads the way in terms of past wins having won the trophy a world record 4 times, whilst Ronaldo has won 2. Both players have also finished 2nd on 3 occasions and Ronaldo has a 3rd place finish to his name as well.

ballon-dor-winners-ronaldo-messi
Ballon d’Or Finishes
Player 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
Messi 4 3 0
Ronaldo 2 3 1

It is Ronaldo though who reigns as current Ballon d’Or holder, and who has shown no signs of wanting to relinquish his grip on this prestigious award.

Three’s a Crowd

Before we press on, a mention for this year’s 3rd name in the list; Manuel Neuer. The commanding German has had an exceptional year, the crowning glory of which was in July when he captained his country to World Cup glory. It’s refreshing to see a goalkeeper make the final 3-man shortlist – he is indeed the first to do so since his compatriot Oliver Kahn finished 2nd in 2002 – a whole 12 years ago!

Neuer was probably Germany’s stand-out player in the World Cup – no easy feat for a goalkeeper – and has continued to impress for Bayern Munich this season. He has fully justified his largely undisputed position as best ‘keeper in the world and his place in this year’s 3-man Ballon d’Or shortlist is fully deserved for me.

So… Messi or Ronaldo?

The debate as to who is the better player has raged on for years now, with the pendulum edging slightly closer to Messi for much of this decade’s beginning. However, in the past year or 2 it is Ronaldo who has seen a significant surge in form and support, which ultimately resulted in him ending Lionel Messi’s incredible 4-year run of Ballon d’Or triumphs.

So as their battle for supremacy resumes, who deserves to take the mantle of the world’s greatest player for 2014?

Ronaldo the Prolific

Cristiano Ronaldo has gone from strength to strength in 2014, picking up from where he left off in the previous year. He finished the 2013/14 season strongly, securing the Pichichi Trophy (La Liga top scorer) with 31 goals in 30 games and scored a record 17 goals (in just 11 games) on the way to helping Real Madrid win “La Decima”; their 10th Champions League trophy which had frustratingly eluded them for so long.

All in all he clocked off with 51 goals in 47 games, ensuring a 3rd European Golden Shoe (highest league goalscorer in Europe) in the process.

His World Cup campaign barely left a mark on his 2014 review as an average Portugal side limped out at the group stage.

Back to Real Madrid though and the beginning of the 2014/15 season. Ronaldo has been northing short of astonishing so far this season, having scored 20 league goals in just 12 appearances, and a total of 26 goals in 20 games across all competitions. Three hat-tricks and 9 assists alongside this frightening strike rate has propelled Cristiano to a level that has even Messi straining his neck to get a glimpse.

Ronaldo’s Overall Calendar Year Stats for 2014
Goals Assists Appearances
Portugal 5 1 9
Real Madrid 50 18 46
Total 55 19 55

Correct as of 1st December 2014. See the calendar year page for guaranteed up to date 2014 statistics

Messi the Record Breaker

Ronaldo’s dominance this season has cast everyone in his shadow, but Messi has recently stepped up his campaign to wrestle back the Ballon d’Or trophy he got so used to holding aloft. Of course, Lionel Messi can never live in the shadows for too long and he duly exploded into life last week scoring 2 hat-tricks in 4 days, breaking two mammoth records in the process.

Messi equalled the great Telmo Zarra’s 59 year old record of 251 La Liga goals before extending the record to 253 by completing his hat-trick. Two days later he broke Raul’s all time Champions League goals record (71 goals) with another hat-trick, taking his record to 74 goals in this competition.

And let’s not forget that towards the end of the 2013/14 season, Lionel Messi became the highest goalscorer of all time in El Clasico fixtures too – and how did he break this record? That’s right – another hat-trick.

It’s not been a classic year for Leo, but the boy knows how to topple legendary records and with some style too.

The World Cup was – and still is – a major talking point when discussing Messi’s legacy, so he found himself under a pretty intense spotlight at this year’s competition. Overall, he had a very strong tournament, scoring and creating some vital goals as he lead an Argentina team that never really excited to the final.

It was then that Messi missed what was perhaps a chance to cement his place amongst history’s elite as he missed a golden opportunity to give his country a World Cup they crave so greatly. After this disappointment, he was awarded with the Adidas Golden Ball for being the tournament’s best player, a controversial decision for most. There’s no denying he played well and was instrumental in Argentina’s path to the final, but it was widely felt that there were better performers in Brazil this summer.

Messi’s Overall Calendar Year Stats for 2014
Goals Assists Appearances
Argentina 8 2 14
Barcelona 44 19 48
Total 52 21 62

Correct as of 1st December 2014. See the calendar year page for guaranteed up to date 2014 statistics

So who deserves to win the 2014 Ballon d’Or?

We’ve seen the case for both players now and so it’s time to make a decision. Ronaldo has clearly upped the ante in terms of goalscoring, and was a Champions League winner in 2014. Messi had a strong (but far from mind-blowing) World Cup, and has broken legendary, long-standing records.

For me, it’s difficult to look too far past the statistics. Ronaldo’s averaged a goal a game for club and country this year whilst Messi has hit 0.84 goals per game; below the par for which he has set himself in seasons gone by. Add to that the fact that Ronaldo has won Europe’s biggest prize in the Champions League, and it’s evident that you’re looking at the top performer for 2014.

A win would move Ronaldo to 3 Ballon d’Ors in total; just 1 behind Messi.

Whatever happens when the trophy is awarded on January 12th 2015, we should be grateful that we are able to witness 2 players that are – in my opinion – the best to have ever graced the game.

Disagree? Have your say in the comments below.

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