(Photo by Hussain)

(Photo by Hussain)


Ronaldo won Ballon D’or just a few days ago. It was his second time he won that award. Messi came in a close second, he already has won about 4 of them. That makes a total of 6 years of best players awards between two of the fastest players in the world.

And that is exactly the problem I want to address here.

See, Ronaldo and Messi are great players in their own right (I don’t like to debate about who is the greatest player of all time unless really pushed and I have been really pushed plenty of times) but if you go down to the basics (for me at least), Ronaldo and Messi are just bigger and faster versions of your average joe respectively.

I want to hammer that point in through an example. It goes like this;

Messi can/or:

  • Accelerate faster than everybody.

  • Can run faster than everybody

  • Is shorter than everybody and hence that enables him to change direction the quickest.

And that’s it.

Really that is it. Everything Messi achieves is through speed and acceleration. Take that out of his game and he is done. And that is also the reason why you would not associate Messi to a predator. His runs are his trademark and his trademark is through his speed.

Before Messi fans start their ritual against anyone who speaks ill of Messi, let me just say that same goes for Ronaldo.  For the sake of keeping a clean format.

Ronaldo can/or:

  • Run faster than everybody else (him and Messi are on a tie and that is why they are on a tie when it comes to the best player in the world)

  • Is stronger than all other strikers

  • Can shoot the ball with more power, not through better technique though, than anybody else.

  • has more stamina than everybody else

  • can jump higher than everybody else

And that’s that. You would rarely see Ronaldo being applauded for seeing a pass that nobody could see or playing a brilliant long ball. You would see power and brutal pace. Brutal.

It has to be said though, Messi has a pretty good vision for the game. He can see things few others can. But that is not because he has a good read on the game, it is because of his speed that he is able to relax on the ball more than everybody else.

What you have read so far, please, should not entice you into thinking that Messi (and/or Ronaldo) don’t have:

  • a good touch

  • control of the ball

  • passing ability

  • mental fortitude

  • trickery

  • dribbling

They both have those but those qualities are not the ones that make both of them two of the all time greats.

And that is where Ronaldinho comes in.

Now, I know he had a short stint at the top, but Ronaldinho was a unique player and there is only one word for his genius on the pitch. Pulchritudinous(I’ll wait while you check that up with a thesaurus, just as I did).

But that is not it. Ronaldinho was not great because:

  • he had great speed. He did have great speed

  • He had great acceleration. he did have great acceleration.

  • He had great shooting power. He did have great shooting more both because of his technique and because his legs were so damn ripped with those huge muscles.

Ronaldinho was great because he could do things no one could think of without relying on pace or power.

Take power and pace out of Ronaldinho’s game and he would still be 80 percent the same player as he would be at 100 percent pace and power.

Now some might say, look at what happened to him when he turned 30. Now that (dip in form) did not happen because he lost his pace or his acceleration. That was because he lost all motivation and his fitness levels rivalled with those of colonel sanders’s.

Ronaldinho could:

  • make ridiculously precise passes and through balls. He did not need any space. Ronaldo and Messi need space to do that.

  • Did dribbling the way nobody could. You actually had to log onto youtube to see what he did with the ball. It was unconventional. Not taught. Not something you could practise a 1000 times with ankle weights on and then just do it like machine on the field. Ronaldo is the epitome of the above said technique.

  • could finish from ridiculous angles and with a absurd variety of shots. Honestly, sometimes, his dribbles were grotesque

To conclude, I think football misses players like Brazilian Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldinho. Right now we only have Ibrahimovic who does not rely solely on physical stats to pound his opponents. This swarm of players who look like testosterone pumping, weightlifting mountains of muscles must be contained in order to preserve the beautiful game.