Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo share one of the most prolific rivalries in sports history. Sharing comparable numbers and fighting each other almost every season for more than a decade to determine the Player of the Year shows how special these players are!

This debate has always been inconclusive to Soccer fans for years. However, the last 3-4 months have changed things for this rivalry.

Messi’s World Cup Win

Fans witnessed Lionel Messi lift the World Cup trophy to declare him the GOAT, while Ronaldo was dropped by Manchester United and signed with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nasser.

Lionel Messi officially declared himself the greatest player to ever play the game. Messi’s World Cup win was the only thing missing from his lengthy resume. Messi’s leadership and hunger each game showed the depth of how much he needed this tournament win.

Messi’s legacy forever changes with this World Cup win. Still playing at a high level in Europe also shows that he isn’t ready to back down from more success.

Ronaldo’s Downfall

Cristiano Ronaldo has been both one of the best players to ever play and also one of the most controversial. His attitude on the pitch has clearly affected the teams he plays on.

Ronaldo established himself as one of the greatest players to ever play in the English Premier League. He rose to superstardom in his first stint with Manchester United.

His success in England allowed him to become the then-highest transfer in the world at nearly $100 million. The move to Real Madrid would further establish his legacy. He was part of a dynasty that won 3 consecutive Champions League titles.

Leaving Madrid was one of his biggest mistakes. After decent seasons in Italy with Juventus, he found his way back to Manchester United in a last-minute transfer. He helped United’s team last season stay somewhat afloat. Things took a wild turn for the Portuguese star by the start of the 2022/23 season.

After being released by the club where he grew his career, Ronaldo signed one of the most lucrative contracts any athlete has signed. Ronaldo signed a contract with Al-Nasser for a guaranteed $75 million a year, but that total could go upwards of $200 million annually.

Ronaldo becomes the highest-paid athlete with this newly signed contract, but it comes at the cost of his legacy. His legacy will forever be looked at differently, as he is still very fit to play in Europe.

His intentions indicate that he is only looking to make as much money as possible before retiring. This move was pivotal to change the narrative of the Messi vs Ronaldo debate.

The Debate Is Over

Messi has clearly won the long-awaited debate of who is better. Messi’s personality, leadership, and success point to him having one of the most well-rounded careers in sports history!

We will never see two athletes like this compete at such a high level. Those who were fortunate enough to see the days when both players played for Real Madrid and Barcelona saw the peak of the sport.

For 13 years straight, both Messi and Ronaldo came in the Top 3 for Ballon d’Or. Messi has won the award seven times, while Ronaldo has claimed it five times. No other players have ever won the award this many times.