El Centrocampista

PORTUGUESE PERFECTION – Is Ronaldo now better than Messi?


There is no other way to describe the current form of Cristiano Ronaldo than awe-inspiring.

A twelfth Real Madrid hat-trick in today’s demolition of the hapless Osasuna speaks for itself, but it is also his all-round game and professionalism that makes him arguably the best player on the planet at this moment in time.

Whisper that quietly when walking the streets of Barcelona however…

The Portuguese forward has now hit the 15 league goal mark for the season, including four hat-tricks and we’ve only just entered November.

A phenomenal statistic that has left the mercurial Lionel Messi two goals behind Ronaldo in the race for this season’s Pichichi, although he may well change that at San Mames tonight in Barça’s clash against Athletic Club.

Goals are common place for both players of course, but there is something about the Real Madrid man’s outings this season that have led many to think he is now a serious contender for Messi’s Balon d’Or.

Maybe it’s the imperious form his side have shown so far this season – finally looking an equal match for their bitter Catalan rivals, or maybe it’s the growing maturity he has shown in recent months.

While on the subject of his team, we must comment on exactly that – Real Madrid now LOOK like a team rather than a collection of talented egos led by the ego-master himself, Jose Mourinho.

True Ronaldo is still the main attraction at the Bernabeu and the main provider of goals, but he now has a fantastic supporting-cast, akin to the one Messi has enjoyed for several seasons at Barça.

The stats speak for themselves, Ronaldo’s strike partners, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema have now scored 12 and eight goals respectively and take a huge weight of burden from the shoulders of CR7.

In contrast up in Catalunya, David Villa has a modest three goals so far this campaign with Xavi and Cesc Fabregas being Messi’s main support with four-a-piece.

This may suggest there is also more of a reliance on the Argentine by his side than is seen in the capital with Ronaldo and los blancos.

There is also no coincidence that this release in pressure on Ronaldo has made him a more relaxed player on the pitch, and arguably of it as well.

He seems to have finally found a happy medium between winning matches almost single-handedly (the true mark of genius), and being a complete team-player – something that has been absent from his game on occasion in the past.

There have been some great goalscorers in the history of La Liga, players such as other Madrid greats Emilio Butragueño and Hugo Sanchez, but that’s exactly what they were, goalscorers.

Ronaldo is THE complete player.

He scored 40 goals last season to grab the Golden Boot, which is a magnificent achievement in itself, but it is the way he scores goal and the way he provides goals for others that make him truly stand out.

He is blessed with blistering pace. He has a ferocious shot with either foot. He can pick a pass and deliver a precision cross. He can also get back to defend when he has to, and he is a fantastic header of the ball.

As good as the previous great goalscorers were, you would be hard pushed to find a more complete footballer than the Madeira-born player.

This is not to dismiss the attributes of his Blaugrana nemesis Messi either – his genius is undeniable, but at the present moment in time there must be few who could split the two players.

Ultimately of course, why should we have to?

They are both the outstanding players of their generation, and fans of La Liga are blessed to, not only see them playing in Spain but also battling it out directly for the country’s two biggest clubs.

It seems almost certain the debate will rumble on for the duration of their playing careers, and truth be told there is unlikely to ever be a definite consensus, but one thing is for certain – Cristiano Ronaldo is currently playing the most destructive football of his career.

You have been warned…



  1. Al

    6 November, 2011 at 16:55

    ‘While on the subject of his team, we must comment on exactly that – Real Madrid now LOOK like a team rather than a collection of talented egos led by the ego-master himself, Jose Mourinho.’
    I’m pretty sure has been said every single season but at the end of the day unless they actually beat Barcelona in El Clasico it means nothing.

  2. Clay

    6 November, 2011 at 17:01

    Lovely article! The thing I admire most about Ronaldo wasn’t just the manner in which he got the 40 goals in the liga, but doing that with ease. For most strikers they are considered to be at their peak when they do so. Ronaldo did it and still looks like he can improve on it. That’s just ridiculous form he has. The stats that he has are incredible and this season he looks very complete, with great vision and passing that are not so different with El Pulga. It looks like this season is one of hope for every madridista out there. Credit should go to the whole team, you’re right on that. Real Madrid finally look like a team. People are often talking about how last season Madrid were at the top and got hammered five nil. But the thing is, this is not the same Madrid side. From a tactical point of view, Madrid defend by pressing opponents high up the pitch and although they may look a counter attacking side they don’t depend on that. The fact is that Madrid are more confident with the ball and dominate it more in recent matches. Teams used to think that the best way to stop the merengues was to park the bus and wait for Madrid to run out of ideas. Example, Lyon at the Bernabeu. But Real are demolishing then with ease and are pleasant on the eye.

    Congratulations to Ronaldo. HALA MADRID!!!

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