Whenever either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo play, and score, the other’s name isn’t too far from viewers’ lips. The obsession with comparing the two is almost as old as their dominance; though Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or last year, the pair have dominated the game for over 10 years now.
Messi netted another brace, including a sublime free kick, to give Barcelona a 3-0 lead in their Champions League semi final against Liverpool on Wednesday night; watching on, Marseille and Italy striker Mario Balotelli called for an end to the debate in his own way.
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The argument centres around not only who is better between the two, but also who can be called the greatest ever player. Of course, their rivalry was at its most intense before Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer, but both have since admitted that they do miss going head to head against one another.
They each have their own fan bases, with those who follow the clubs they play for backing them alongside countless neutrals. Many, though, are desperate to see comparisons end and for the world to accept these two great players in harmony. Balotelli, though, believes there isn’t even a debate to be had, judging by his latest social media post.
After winning three successive Champions Leagues with Real, Ronaldo’s Juve were knocked out by Ajax in the quarter finals. It would be unfair to say that gave Messi a free run at the trophy he made his priority at the start of the season, but Barcelona are certainly favourites to win it again now.
Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez also got on the scoresheet, meaning the Reds head back to Anfield with plenty of work to do. But they played well at Camp Nou and will certainly not give up yet. If, as expected, Barcelona do go through, and Messi guides them to a sixth European crown, you have to imagine a sixth Ballon d’Or, edging ahead of Ronaldo again.