Wait. What happened?
Ronaldo won four Champions League trophies for Real Madrid in five years.
And he played a key role in each of those campaigns.
That’s a bit more than what we can say for Messi at this point.
But that’s not what we are going to talk about here.
What we are going to talk about here, in this short post, is what Messi needs to do in order to be considered as great as Ronaldo.
Look, comparing players from different eras is always a flawed and unfair debate.
Numbers are NOT just numbers.
So many things have to come into place together in order for a football player to become great.
In other words, there is no point in talking about Messi as the greatest player of all time.
Or Ronaldo being the greatest player of all time.
The most that one can do is compare players who play in the same position and in a similarly powerful squad.
That is the reason why people have always compared Ronaldo to Messi.
And not Totti or Riquelme or Gerrard to Messi.
Simply put, Messi has always (and by always, we do mean always) played for the best team in the world.
He has never stepped on the green pitch where he had to look across the field at a stronger squad.
And this is precisely the reason why it is a bit unfair to compare Messi with Ronaldo.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some of the things Messi still needs to do in order to catch up to Ronaldo.
Messi Has To Leave Barcelona
This is something he has always shied away from.
Maybe he believes his game is only suited to La Liga.
And maybe he is right.
Alex Ferguson certainly thinks so.
So who are we to argue.
Of course, the door is still open for Messi.
All that he has to do is to leave Barcelona for any other club in the world.
And then make history there.
If he wants to challenge Ronaldo’s status as the greatest player of his generation, then Messi has to go to a club in the English Premier League.
German leagues are out.
So are Italian leagues.
Maybe after making history with an English club can Messi think about performing for a third club.
But by that time, he would be around 40 years old.
So let’s not expect that from Messi.
Messi has To Win Something Substantial With Argentina
Let’s face it.
Ronaldo has beaten Messi at the international level since the very beginning.
And no, a second place finish at the World Cup or Copa America does not count as success.
Remember, second place is the first loser.
Messi needs to do what Ronaldo has done.
He has to single-handedly win his national side a major trophy.
So far, Messi hasn’t been able to do that despite the fact that the competition in South American-only tournaments is way lower than in Europe-only competitions.
Ronaldo has to play the likes of Germany and Spain in order to win Euros.
While Messi only has to worry about Uruguay or at the maximum, Brazil that doesn’t know what defense means in football.
To be fair to Messi he had 2 glorious chances to make it even with Ronaldo.
One was at the World Cup 2014 when Argentina made it to the final.
The other one was at Copa America 2016.
Messi fluffed both chances.
But that’s not all.
Ronaldo has overtaken Messi in terms of the number of goals at the World Cup stage.
So that is something Messi needs to take care of as well.
Messi Has To Start Scoring Important Goals In Important Games Against Important Sides
Just take any of Messi’s 500 plus goals in his career and put it through the following three criteria,
- Did he score it against one of the best defensive teams?
- Did he score the goal at the biggest stages of the biggest tournaments?
- And did he score the goal at an important time in the match?
And then do the same with Ronaldo.
You will find that Ronaldo has scored far more important goals against stronger sides at bigger stages than Messi.
As mentioned before, Messi has never played a side stronger than his own.
Ever since Messi has played for Barcelona, Barcelona (in terms of talent on the pitch) has always been number one.
Sadly, talent is not the only thing that wins you things.
Hard work and performing at the right times do.
And that is exactly what Ronaldo has done.
There is no point in arguing that Messi has more talent than Ronaldo.
But Ronaldo is better than Messi at scoring from different positions.
He can score under pressure.
Ronaldo can also score in big matches when his side isn’t the strongest one on the pitch.
Messi can continue to score those Maradona goals against second-tier semi-professional teams in La Liga for another 20 years.
But those goals would count for very little.
He has to start scoring good goals against good teams in desperate times at the biggest stages in football.
In other words, Messi will enter the greatest of all time debate (once again) when he too scores a bicycle kick against Juventus (and Buffon) in a Champions League quarter-final match.
And he did it away from home.
We don’t really need to check how many great goals has Messi scored outside Camp Nou or even outside Spain.
Because we won’t find much.
If anything at all.
So there you go.
These are the things that Messi needs to do if he wants people to seriously compare him to Ronaldo.
Messi can match and sometimes outperform Ronaldo
in terms of sheer numbers.
But he doesn’t even come close when we break those numbers down.
In short Messi needs do,
- Leave Barcelona
- Perform for the national side.
- Start scoring his “beautiful goals” against meaningful teams, in meaningful tournaments, in meaningful stages of the match AWAY from home.
Here is a little something on what Messi did/didn’t do at the opening game of World Cup 2018 in Russia against Iceland.
That is it for today.
We’re all ears now, at least until the next time Messi takes it to the pitch for Argentina.
So keep the comments rolling.