Two maestros of the game. A left footed messiah and a right footed beast. One who dances with the ball, the other blasts his way past the opponent. The Achilles and the Hercules of football.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two names, who have been ruling the world of football for more than a decade now. Many great players came and went by during this period, but these two stayed firm. Every single time they stepped on to the pitch, our jaws dropped. It is absolutely unreal how these two guys have managed to reach beyond the cloud 9 of football.
It feels like yesterday, that in the summer of 2003 we saw an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo making his debut for Sir Alex’s Manchester United. A year later, a 17-year-old Lionel Messi was unleashed into the world of pro football by Pep Guardiola.
Since then, these two have taken the game to unattainable heights. Nearly every accolade in this era have had their names written on it.
Winning one Ballon d’Or was considered a great achievement, winning two made you a legend. Now think of the number of times these two guys have won it. It is gobsmacking! They have won everything there is to win in the game, consistently smashing record after record, season after season.
Despite everything, humans being humans can never stop comparing on who is the greater of the two. The world is no longer divided into US and Russia, it is divided into Ronaldo and Messi. This is what we want to see, this is what we are shown. But little do we know about the mutual respect these two players have for each other. Many a times both have come out and expressed how the competition between them helps to get the best out of each other. For those who have watched the movie RUSH would know how important a friendly rivalry is.
Ronaldo is 34 years old now, while Messi is 32. Though these two players are not looking anywhere near to calling it a day. And why would they? Finishing with 40 odd goals a season even now, and outshining, overshadowing, outclassing, outperforming, overmatching all the other players playing in their prime.
Time seems to have no effect on them, but that day is not far, when both of them will decide to hang their boots. The day when billions of football fans all around the globe would be left with bittersweet tears.
There was one Beethoven, there was one Schubert. So, just enjoy till the music is on. We couldn’t enjoy them live, but we are certainly honoured and privileged enough to be born in the era of these two footballers.
One phrase that sits apt. with these two is “Vini, Vidi, Vici”. There will never be another Ronaldo or Messi.
So, stop the bickering, stop the debates. Just enjoy these final years. The game of football would never be the same post the Ronaldo-Messi era.