Ronaldo vs Messi – who’s had the best summer?
Summer 2021 has been a busy time for football, with tournaments gripping Europe and South America. The two greatest footballers on the scene, and perhaps of all time, have both been representing their countries in the tournaments; Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, and Lionel Messi for Argentina.
Many commentators and pundits frequently compare the two players. Both are high scoring players, frequently breaking the 50 goal mark in club football seasons, both leading their countries on the international scene, and both receiving awards for their footballing prowess. Many compare their rivalry to that of Ali and Frazier or Borg and McEnroe, or even Senna and Prost. However, they both have very different styles both on and off the pitch.
Ronaldo was one of the most talked about players this summer due to his impressive performances; the social tracker shows all the information, statistics and details of all teams and players who have taken part in the competition. Though Portugal was eliminated from the competition, Ronaldo is still one of the most mentioned players, with a Social Tracker Score of 10.0, 620 mentions in a week, and over 90 million followers.
Argentina, on the other hand, are still in the Copa America, no doubt in part due to the stellar performances by Messi. Argentina are unbeaten in their last 19 games, with their last loss coming in 2019 in the semi-final of the Copa America against Brazil. Messi has scored five goals so far and been instrumental in a further 15, a remarkable feat that has yet to be matched by another player, and makes Messi the leader in the race for the 2021 Copa America Golden Boot.
Both Ronaldo and Messi are exceptional players, but is one better than the other?
Ronaldo is currently leading the race for the Golden boot with five goals, despite Portugal being out of the competition. Whilst it is possible for Harry Kane of the England Team to beat this, he will need to score twice in the final to secure this accolade, and Ronaldo remains the favourite to win. He has also set records for scoring in every match, and set (and subsequently broke) the record for overall goals, a record which now stands at 14.
Ronaldo’s performance at this summer has matched the world record for most international goals by any male player; 109 in 177 games (there are several female players who far exceed this record). He also holds the record for playing in the most tournaments; this is his fifth, and is the only player to score in all five, as well as being the defending champion going into the current competition.
Ronaldo has also been a key player in the FIFA World Cup over the years. Making his debut in 2006 at just 21 when Portugal finished fourth eliminating England on penalties, where Ronaldo scored taking Portugal into the semi-finals where they lost to a strong French side. Though Portugal have yet to win a FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo has been the recipient of the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, and hold the record for being the youngest ever recipient of the award at just 20.
Messi is, like Ronaldo, currently leading the pack when it comes to goals, with 4 so far in Copa America 2021. He has scored 12 goals in all Copa America’s, and has led his team to the finals in 2007, 2015, and 2016, but has yet to secure a win. Argentina is through to the semi-finals this year with a 3-0 win over Ecuador, with Messi assisting with the first two goals and scoring the third from a free kick in injury time.
Argentina have won the FIFA World Cup on two occasions, though both long before Messi started playing. Messi has scored six times in the World Cup, the first time as an 18-year old in his debut against Serbia. A rocky start to his career did not see him playing regularly for the national team until 2010, where he won the first of a record breaking six Ballons d’Or. By 2018, Messi was captain and led Argentina to the final, where they were beaten by a strong German side.
Messi has also previously won the Golden Ball at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, an award given to the best player of the tournament. Messi has also won the Olympic Gold in Beijing 2008.
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Who is the better player?
It is hard to say categorically that one player is better than the other. Ronaldo has won an international trophy with Portugal, whereas Messi has got close to both the World Cup and Copa America but failed to win. Messi has won the Golden Ball and won the Ballon d’Or on more occasions. But Ronaldo has scored more goals in international tournaments than Messi.
Both players are undoubtedly leaders in their field, and both have a strong track record at both club and international level, and despite their relative advanced age for the sport, both will have future opportunities to continue to collect wins and awards.