Many love him and others loathe him, mostly due to his continued nose-to-nose rivalry with Lionel Messi. Every now and then, arguments and sometimes passionate altercations spring up between football fans and fanatics, analysts, pundits, writers and even media outfits over who is the better of the two living football legends.
One of such arguments is that Cristiano Ronaldo have always been on the bright side of luck, many propose that Real Madrid had it easy in their fixtures at the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions league where they were eventual champions, it was claimed that by some weird luck they had avoided the 'strong' teams and expected they would be decisively trounced when they eventually meet these teams, the dream trouncing was never to be, Real Madrid seemed to step up their game when it mattered most. This same phenomena seemed to have played out with the Portuguese national team at Euro 2016 – the common element to both teams being fundamentally Cristiano Ronaldo.
This is not about who is the better of the Portuguese and the Argentine. But here are at least seven reasons I will choose the Portuguese over and again.
1. Hard-work: 'Hard work beats talent where talent doesn't work hard' – Tim Notke. Cristiano is one vivid example of how hard work can beat talent, while Cristiano is definitely endowed with great football skills, providence seems to have smiled better on Messi - who's undoubtedly born to play football, this is not to say he doesn't work hard but the natural ability curve seem to tilt in his direction. If there are footballers that are more hard-working than Cristiano, they'll be very few. It seems an exceptional feat that Cristiano has been able to keep up with Lionel, while footballing seems to come to Messi effortlessly and intuitively, it is quite obvious that Ronaldo's success can mostly be attributed to a lot of effort, as attested to by many of his team-mates , the maestro has an unbelievable work hectic. In his own words, “If you have talent but don't work hard, you won't win anything”. Jermaine Jones, the American who scored an amazing goal against Portugal at the 2014 World cup reckons; “Messi's completely different, Messi's like, one time in the world, never again. Cristiano, everything he [has] is really work”. Whether it is arriving first in training and leaving last, practising spot kicks all day or training alone on off days – Hard-work makes Ronaldo.
2. Determination: While many great players flourish around a great team, Cristiano has a knack for carrying his teams on his shoulders, where others seem to give up Cristiano seem to see something invisible to others, whether it is in helping Manchester United win the champions league or an unlikely Portugal win the Euros. On the other hand Messi's feet have not been tested in as many waters and his performance with the Argentine national team is a far cry from that of Barcelona. Cristiano seem to have a never-say-die attitude whether it is in attempting the same dribble, or his signature step-over over and over again or in taking his spot kicks even after several failures and when it eventually goes in? It's usually a wonder to behold. On the other hand, Messi seem to easily show frustration and dejection when things are not working out, for example last year he had a prolonged furor with the Argentine Football Association – the cause being the Argentine team's continued dismal performance at the Copa America, Messi even hinted on quitting international football; which cannot be totally separated from his inability to achieve his desires with the team.
3. Drive: Cristiano Ronaldo is unequivocal about what pushes him, he wants to win everything every time. In his own words “I always try to improve, tomorrow I will be better than today, and next year will be better than this one. If I score 50 goals, I want 55. Some people say I'm too serious on the pitch, not smiling and so on. It is because I'm focused 100 percent on every game. I always want more and more”. The many times Cristiano has been injured on the pitch and would refuse to be stretched out even when it is obvious he could not continue like the incident with Dimitri Payet at the final of the Euro 2016, Ronaldo's drive is unbeatable, cannot be suppressed, cannot be quieted, even with bandages on the leg, Ronaldo cannot be calm and sit still on the side-line. Ronaldo's boisterous attitude even when He's not directly involved in the match is a far cry from Messi's passiveness when he's not on the pitch playing.
4. Confidence: Many would have been intimidated into giving up and cowing under the looming figure of Lionel Messi but not Cristiano, even when he is unlikely he always anticipates winning everything ahead of Messi. When in the opening stages of Euro 2016, Ronaldo's presence was evasive on the pitch, Messi was wowing away the spectators in America, many comparison were immediately put out, Cristiano's lackluster performance in contrast to Messi's dazzling overshadowed all other discussions – well, he had gotten used to years of comparison in La Liga, it would seem that Cristiano doesn't read the news, he played on unfazed, unperturbed and resilient. He wouldn't allow any negative pressure get to his performance. I would not bet on Messi putting up the same attitude if he were on Ronaldo's end.
5. Leadership: Even in his earliest footballing days, Ronaldo had shown immense ability to organize and rally his team and even the supporters, on or off the pitch. A Ronaldo will not hide his discountenance at the wasteful play of a team mate and would be there to applaud when it is well played, even when luck doesn't smile on the team and heads are drooping. In his character, he gives loud rallying calls for the team to step up their game and for the supporters to chant louder. After sadly being replaced in the finals of Euro 2016, Ronaldo almost overshadowed the team's coach as he organized and coordinated the team from the sidelines – something he has also shown on numerous occasions in Real Madrid.
6. Time-outs: Just as much of a hard-worker as Cristiano is, he equally is a sucker for enjoying himself. Whether it is relaxing on a serene island with his girlfriend or Cristiano Jr., taking a walk on the street or celebrating an El Clasico win 'naked' or hosting a victory party, there's no dull moment with Cristiano, every great achiever knows how to take time out. Ronaldo pays attention to the things that matter, family, friends and of course his body.
7. Team Spirit: It is very rare to hear Cristiano censure his team mates off the pitch, in his comments and interviews, he'd rather esteem them even when it is obvious that a crack may exist in their relationship. I'm not sure Cristiano would have called out his national football governing body or the team as has often been the character of Messi. And did you hear he gave his Euro 2016 silver boot award to Nani?
And well, Cristiano pays his taxes :D
So here you have who I'll choose if I have to decide between one of these two legends, who would you choose? Let's know why.