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Messi, Ronaldo battling it out for world`s top player honors

Messi, Ronaldo battling it out for world`s top player honors

Posted December. 18, 2010 10:59,   


“They are effectively enjoying the popularity of Pele (Brazil) and Diego Maradona (Argentina) in the same era.”

This is what a British soccer commentator said about two stars in their early 20s in 2007, but few agreed with this idea at the time. Most thought it was premature to consider the two as being as talented as Pele or Maradona.

Three years later, few can deny the validity of the commentator`s idea. Fans, however, are simply happy over just having the opportunity to watch Lionel Messi, 23, of FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo, 25, of Real Madrid play.

The two divided the global soccer community in half several years ago. Ronaldo struck first in the competition by winning the FIFA Player of the Year Award in 2008 through a scintillating performance in the 2007-08 season.

It was not long before Messi began to counter. He swept all major awards just a year later, earning the scoring title in the Spanish Primera Liga and the UEFA Champions League last season, and is seen as the more promising of the two.

Analysts say, however, that the two players are poised to start a genuine competition this season. Ronaldo, who has completed his adaptation period a year after moving to Spain, is on a scoring binge this season.

With a third of this season over as of Friday, the two players are tied for the league lead in goals with 17 each, but Messi has played in just 13 games as opposed to 15 for Ronaldo. The third-place scorer is behind by seven goals.

Who will emerge the winner? Experts cautiously favor Messi.

KBS soccer commentator Han Joon-hee said, “Messi has a great supporting cast including Xavi Hernandez, dubbed the “pass master,” and Andres Iniesta. Barcelona also has a strong scoring capacity in using an offensive strategy spearheaded by Messi, which gives him another advantage.”

SBS TV commentator Park Moon-sung said, “Messi’s playing capacity is more stable and constant. He is better in mental composure in front of the goal and in the shot-goal ratio, which adds to his strengths.”

Analysts say Ronaldo also still has ample opportunities to emerge as No. 1, however. MBC TV commentator Seo Hyung-wook said, “Ronaldo will not be alone when Kaka recovers from injury in addition to Mesut Ozil, who has performed well since joining the team this season.”

Ronaldo has also improved his no-turn free kick to score three goals in that manner this season. His teammates are also assisting him by giving him most of the scoring chances, such as penalty kicks.