Today I was reading an article from Guillem Balague which compared Iniesta with Zidane and even concluded that Iniesta is a better player.
The article goes on and compares the number of titles both players have won with both their clubs and national teams. Then it adds some quotes from other players and basically says that Iniesta is better.
Personally, I don't think the stats mentioned count that much. They are important factors, but they don't prove anything. How can the number of league titles prove that a player is better than the other? I'd agree if he used stats like the completed dribbles, successful passes, successful stops, goals scored, etc. These are the kinds of stats that the amazing WhoScored.com website provides. And although they can’t show you the full story, they’re the best you can have. Iniesta for sure is a great player, but what is mentioned, is far from rational reason.
Also, the respect I had for his opinion is much less, now that he called Raul a "legend"!! He is a good player altogether, but his goal ratio is 0.43 (323 goals in 741 matches). While that’s not awful, it’s not something representing a legend. I remember watching him play and wanting to kill myself when he missed chance after chance. I’ve had the same problem with Benzema, but now he has done more than redeeming himself. Considering Pirri wasn't a forward, I'd choose him over Raul every single time (172 goals in 561 games: ratio 0.3).
I think that when you choose a player, you have to compare the player’s abilities. What he is able to do in different situations. What are his capabilities? Can he do more if something doesn’t work? Now that we’re talking about comparing football players, let’s cut to the chase and do what is everyone doing nowadays and compare Messi and Ronaldo.
Personally I love watching Cristiano Ronaldo. My previous favorite football player was (ironically) Ronaldo (the Brazilian) but now CR7 has done more than passing him. But let me tell you, my affection of Real Madrid has nothing to do with this decision. If Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid, although I am and I’ll always be a Madridisma, I’ll be a fan of CR7. But I have my reasons.
Based on what I said, you have to compare the whole package. You have to see the player’s capabilities. Let’s see what each player has to offer. I’ll try to be fair as much as possible.
Dribbling: 99! has amazing dribbling ability. He can switch the direction he’s moving very fast and pass the payers like a breeze.
Vision: one of the great abilities of Messi is his vision. He can see the game like we see from the camera. He has the whole picture.
Ball control: his control of the ball is amazing. He knows exactly how much force he should put into his touch to control, move and shoot the ball.
Shooting: his shooting is not that powerful but usually his finishes are very accurate. Hence the amazing goal record.
Set pieces: Messi is in my opinion an awful penalty taker. If I was the manager of Barcelona, I wouldn’t give him a penalty in a million years. Iniesta perhaps. David Villa, Xavi, but not Messi. His free-kicks are better though. Although they don’t have much power, the accuracy is good. He can score on some occasions.
Technique: CR7 has (in my opinion) the best technical ability in the world. You won’t see many players do what he does in this game. That adds to the beauty of this game. Also, his feet are amazingly fast. I don’t remember anyone doing stepovers this fast.
Vision: I think Messi and Ronaldo both share a great vision. They’re both fantastic in this area.
Ball control: I think Messi’s ball control is better than Ronaldo’s. The difference is not that much, but I’d give Messi a higher score in this area.
Shooting: Ronaldo is one of the few players in the world who is capable of scoring from a long range. His goal against Osassuna is one of the many examples of what he is capable of. His shots are like launched rockets. I don’t imagine there are many goalkeepers in the world who are willing to stand against his amazing shots. Also, I don’t think there is another player that can shoot such powerful shots and at the same time, be accurate like him.
Set pieces: Ronaldo is the inventor of knockleshots and he has a great record for penalty goal streak. When he fires them, the keeper should be lucky to avoid it. The movement of the ball is scary.
Head: Ronaldo is great in the air. Everyone knows that. His header against Manchester United last week was the best header I’ve ever seen in my life. He just flies in the air and stays there!! I just don’t know how’s that possible (watch his documentary).
Speed: he’s capable of running the entire Santiago Bernabeu in under 10 seconds with ball. Show me another player who’s able to do that. I don’t think anything more is needed to say here.
Weak foot: well, he’s got none. He’s a right-foot player but his left foot is as much powerful. I think his left-foot shot is more than 3 times powerful than Messi’s left foot! (not right!!!). He’s left shot goal against Sevilla just proves it.
Body: I think if he wasn’t a great footballer, he would be able to be one of the best male models in the world. His body is amazing. He’s extremely fit.
Personally, I think that the media has a strong influence on Messi’s success. When you hear people idolize Messi for a simple goal but you hear next to nothing for an amazing goal scored by Cristiano, it makes you wonder. Otherwise, why would Messi win Ballon d’Or 4 times in a row and Ronaldo only once? The comparison above should give at least 1 more to Ronaldo.
I remember people saying that Ronaldo is not playing well in big games. But then, we saw that he scored in 6 consecutive Clasicos and one a few for the team. He made history with Real Madrid and broke several records. Even winning Liga trophy wouldn’t help him. The world has already decided to give Messi his 4th golden ball and nothing would change their mind.
But let me take this opportunity to say:
Dear Cristiano! You’ve got our Ballon d’Or. And when you’ve got people on your side, nothing else matters.