Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTwo types of genius - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Two types of genius - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Two types of genius

The two greatest footballers in the world are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both play in La Liga and both are icons around the globe.Yet how can two such wonderful attacking players have equal success but have such contrasting styles?

The first thing to note is that neither Messi nor Ronaldo is in fact a striker. Both play wider of the central striker for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively but their goal tallies in last season had every striker in football green with envy.

First let’s look at Lionel Messi. The twenty-four year old Argentine has always been one of the greatest talents football has, and possibly will, ever produce with comparisons to Diego Maradona ever since he grew up in Barcelona‘s youth team. His development with Barcelona is what has made him such a prestigious footballer. What is immediately noticeable about Messi is his close control and his modesty on the pitch, as well as off it. Last season he scored 53 goals and assisted 24 times in his 55 appearances for Barca. But for those that hear these statistics and think he must be a selfish player couldn’t be more wrong. Anyone that watches Messi on the pitch can see the way he glides over the surface and how rarely the ball leaves the floor. Running behind the defence and quick acceleration with the ball at his feet make him almost unstoppable once he is in full flow. Naturally scoring goals is easier with Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas looking for the decisive goal but more often than not it is Messi that is releasing the final ball to one of his ever-moving teammates. As I write this post, Messi has just scored a hat-trick and has assisted two others goals in an 8-0 victory against Osasuna. Messi is never one to run off and celebrate without his compadres. After he finds the net he looks for the man who found him and points to the heavens. He has everything a footballer wants and needs and is being spoken of as the best footballer ever before he is even twenty-five. Yet despite his goal-scoring antics and his torment of defences, he would happily forgo all his goals if it meant team success. A lot of players say this. He actually means it.

So what of Cristiano Ronaldo? I said the two players are different in their styles but similar in their success and last season’s stats showed Ronaldo too scored 53 goals. In fact his record at Real Madrid is staggering. 91 goals in 94 appearances in not only phenomenal but unheard of. When he signed for £80 million at the start of the 2009 season everyone was thunderstruck at the fee. Surely it could never be justified. In football terms it most certainly has been. His skill and speed make him one of the most feared sights as a defender because once he has passed you there is no catching him. Ronaldo’s ability to push the ball past the opposition but still have it glued to his foot is one of his greatest strengths. But if you say his name to anyone their first thought will be of his skills. Never has a footballer so audaciously paraded his talent with the football on the field as Ronaldo. There have been attempts by many flair players to use their skill to effect and it has come back to haunt them horribly but not Ronaldo. His ball juggling, step overs and drag backs make him very aesthetically pleasing to watch as a supporter and neutral but a nightmare if you are a fan or player of the opposition. But how is he different to Messi? Firstly note the way the two players play football. Messi is graceful and Ronaldo is explosive. I believe Messi is more af a team player whereas Ronaldo often is seen as more of an individual. Once Barcelona had won the title last season, it was clear that Ronaldo and his team were concentrating on boosting his own personal goal tally and making him the player to score the most goals in a single La Liga season. He scored 11 goals in his last 4 games of that campaign and quite often he is boastful of his talent. He was recently quoted as saying, after being booed and kicked in Zagreb, that everyone hates him because he is ‘rich, good-looking, and a great footballer’. In admittance he is correct but this highlights the egotistical aspects of his character. Ronaldo has finished second to Messi in almost every Fifa, Uefa and World competition for individual honours that there is, but these two players should both be standing on the top pedestal. Never have there been two more talented players. And they both play in our generation.

Aren’t we lucky?

Luke Lambert @ luke_lambert1




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