Ronaldo vs Messi: Could This Year Be the End of An Era?
One of the most prominent questions held by football fans and commentators across the world is ‘who are the best footballers?’.
Before 2007, Kaka and many other footballers were fortunate to make the list of ‘great’ players. However, post-2007, the list was reduced to two phenomenal sportsmen, Ronaldo and Messi.
Here is an overview of Ronaldo’s and Messi’s most significant achievements to date.
Fifa Ballon D’ors Awards
Ronaldo – 5
Messi – 6
Best Fifa Men’s Player Awards
Ronaldo – 2
Messi – 1
Total Goals Scored
Ronaldo – 762
Messi – 740
To zone in on each Player’s recent performance, here are their stats from last year (2020);
Ronaldo – 41
Messi – 26
Ronaldo – 3
Messi – 1
Ronaldo – 1
Messi – 1
Major Individual Trophies
Ronaldo – 3
Messi – 3
In 2020, Ronaldo’s performance surpassed Messi’s. But this does not in any way discount Messi’s performance on an individual stance. Overall, both players, despite their age, still outperform their peers. But at some point, this will change.
Is Retirement on The Horizon For Ronaldo and Messi?
The average retirement age for pro footballers is 35. Recently, Ronaldo turned 36, and Messi will turn 34 in June. As such, there are talks about if and when these players will leave their jobs.
In December 2019, on accepting his Ballon d’Or, the Argentina captain Messi, publicly admitted his awareness that ‘retirement is approaching.’ Revealing the subject has been on his mind as of late.
Messi’s contract with La Ligas Barcelona will end this summer. But Barcelona’s president believes if Messi extends his contract with them, he won’t retire for another three to four years.
As for Ronaldo, during the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards last December, where he earned the ‘Player of the Century’ award. Ronaldo explained to Gulf News he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. And he’s prepared to continue making sacrifices to continue his profession for the next two to three years.
Its common once footballers have passed their peak to play in lower leagues or seek another position relative to their experience. Such as work as a commentator or coach. But both players remain exceptionally desirable on the pitch.
Therefore, the Ballon d’Or awards may continue to be dominated by Ronaldo and Messi for the next three or more years. Unless, of course, other players rise through the ranks. Which leads us to the next question.
Who Has the Potential to Replace Ronaldo and Messi?
If sport has taught us anything, it’s that there’s always someone stronger, faster, and more strategic working their way through the ranks.
While it’s unlikely any footballers will gain the top spot while Ronaldo and Messi are on the field. It’s exciting to weigh up other players’ potential. Fans and punters across the world who enjoy placing a bet on a football match will be keen to keep an eye on any upcoming young professional players who could possibly disrupt the odds for many football teams and their positions on the table at the end of the season.
Here are a few players with promising futures that may eventually reach the status of Ronaldo and Messi.
Neymar has achieved 58 champions league appearances and scored 35 goals. However, he hasn’t won a Ballon d’Or like Ronaldo and Messi.
Last year, Neymar’s’ transfer from Barcelona to St Germain cost £198 million, making him the most expensive player in history!
With such a high price tag, Neymar’s performance has been heavily scrutinized as of late. And while he is highly regarded as a great player. Football fans are unsure his football skills will ever match up to Messi and Ronaldo’.
At the age of 21, Mbappe achieved 4 French cups, 4 Ligue 1 titles, and 104 goals. In comparison, Ronaldo, and Messi, by this age, scored 27 and 42 goals.
Mbappe was also a significant player in France’s World Cup. Not to mention at just 19 years old, Kylian achieved 4th place for the most prestigious award in football, the Ballon d’Or. Perhaps Mbappe will give Ronaldo and Messi a run for the award in the next few years.
Erling is a confident footballer who has gained an excellent reputation through his European performances and time with RB Salzburg.
After achieving 29 goals for Salzburg, he moved up the ranks to Borussia Dortmund. So far with BVB, Halland has achieved 16 goals in 18 games. With promising results this far, Halland might have what it takes to gain star status in football.
Barcelona player Ansu launched his career in youth football and gained a spot in La Ligas Barcelona when he was just 16 years old.
Messi has previously stated Fati could ‘become one of the best’ footballers, providing he stays focused. Perhaps Fati won’t be an immediate top pick for bettors; however, over time, with age and experience, he’s likely to mature into a significant player in the footballing world.
Is This the End of an Era for Messi and Ronaldo?
For two footballers to maintain notoriety for a decade like Messi and Ronaldo is extraordinary.
There are a few players who have a promising future in football. Perhaps even some, such as Mbappe, are likely to accrue a Ballon d’Or in their careers. But still, these players are incomparable to Messi and Ronaldo.
Whether this year marks the end of an era depends on whether Ronaldo and Messi’s age affects their performance and drive to maintain the top position. What appears certain is that neither footballer will give up anytime soon, and so for now, the rivalry continues.