Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo: Who is football’s greatest player?
Written by Cool Radio Spain on June 17, 2018
It is a debate that continues to rage among football fans around the globe.
With the World Cup now in full swing, the row over whether it is Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo who is the game’s greatest player has only intensified.
Here, Sky News looks at the arguments for both players and asks you to cast your vote in the poll below.
The Real Madrid and Portugal forward had an incredible start to the 2018 World Cup, scoring a hat-trick in his country’s opening match against Spain.
At 33, Ronaldo is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or – the prestigious prize recognising the world’s best footballer – after winning the title for a fifth time.
He capped another incredible season with Real Madrid in 2017/18 as the club won their third consecutive Champions League trophy, beating Liverpool in the final.
It was the fifth time Ronaldo has celebrated victory in European football’s elite club competition, having previously won it with Real Madrid in 2014 and with his former team Manchester United in 2008.
Ronaldo’s relentless goal-scoring form with Real Madrid has seen him bag an incredible 450 goals in 438 games, making him the club’s all-time top goal-scorer.
Along with his Champions League triumphs, Ronaldo’s glittering career includes winning two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey trophies, four Fifa Cup World Cups, three Premier League titles and an FA Cup.
As Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer, he has also won major international honours, captaining his national team to victory at Euro 2016.
Despite being forced off early with a knee injury in the final against France, Ronaldo scored three goals during the tournament including a crucial brace in Portugal’s final group match against Hungary.
Despite missing a penalty in Argentina’s opening World Cup match in Russia, for many football fans Messi will cement his place as the greatest footballer in history if he leads his country to victory in this summer’s tournament.
As both a prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, the 30-year-old Barcelona star capped another successful season with the club in 2017/18, winning his ninth La Liga title and sixth Copa del Rey.
Since joining Barcelona as a youth player, Messi has gone on to win the Champions League four times with the Catalan club and the Fifa Club World Cup three times.
He also inspired Barcelona to an historic treble-winning season on two occasions, securing the league, cup and Champions League in 2008/09 and 2014/2015.
As the all-time top goalscorer for both Barcelona and Argentina, Messi also holds the record for the most goals in La Liga with 383 and the most goals in a single La Liga season with 50.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner took home the award in four consecutive years between 2009 and 2012.
At international level, success with Argentina at the World Cup or Copa America has eluded Messi but he won gold at the 2008 Olympics and claimed victory in the 2005 Fifa Under-20s World Cup.
After retiring from international football in 2016, he reversed his decision and secured Argentina’s qualification to the World Cup in Russia with a brilliant hat-trick against Ecuador last October.