Whenever Real Madrid used to play against Barcelona in a professional soccer match, the most obvious subplot was always the battle between Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. They are, without a doubt, the two highest paid soccer athletes in the world. Christiano Ronaldo recently signed a multi-year contract deal with Juventus for $136 million and makes a whopping $36 million as an annual salary.
Lionel Messi has Christiano Ronaldo beat in the salary department. When he signed a multiyear contract with Barcelona, there was a staggering $835 million buyout clause. He also received a cool $59 million signup bonus and makes an annual salary of $50 million per year, including bonus money.
Both of them have won the FIFA Player of the Year award on multiple occasions and scored goals in the Champions League final. Their statistics and style of play will offer hints on who the best player actually is. Let’s take a look.
Head vs Feet
Soccer players are allowed to score with both their feet or head, and Ronaldo and Messi have distinct differences when it comes to this area. Messi is a left-footer and completes most of his goals on the left side. Messi is also incredible in one-on-one’s and has the ability the curl the ball into a corner, or even produces a couple of spectacular piledrivers. Where Messi enjoys displaying true finesse when it comes to scoring a goal, Ronaldo relies on sheer power. Ronaldo is a right footer but can also score with his left foot. His record of goals speak for themselves, but when it comes to foot power, Messi certainly has the edge.
Messi has the ability to produce exquisite goals that bend past the goalkeeper and his free kicks incorporate more finesse as opposed to brute force. On the other hand, Ronaldo has more variation when it comes to free kicks where he manages to swerve the ball into the goalpost which is quite remarkable each and every time. Therefore, Ronaldo has the edge when it comes to free kicks.
Control and Dribbling
Messi is an incredible dribbler, and no one can argue that he is the best in the world, especially when you look at how he destroys his opponents. Messi’s greatest strength is the fact that he has quick feet and a beautiful technique over and above his pace. There’s a handful of players that can perform a stepover in the same manner as Ronaldo and it is this skill that assists him in beating his opponents every time. However, he relies more on his pace to beat his opponents as oppose to Messi which means Messi has him beat in this department.
Messi, due to his small size, can be knocked over quite easily but he is very capable of holding his own, especially when its one-on-one. On the other hand, Ronaldo is far more physically imposing. Messi has more influence in the game, while Ronaldo is a bit of a bully. Ronaldo has obviously scored more goals, but when it comes to overall performance and technique, Messi certainly takes the crown.