Here we are, in the wake of another Lionel Messi master class, debating once again if he’s the best or if that title falls to his nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Frankly, it’s becoming a pathetic comparison.
Each have a different set of skills and both are incredible players in their own right. To consistently have to compare one and the other is getting very tiring.
It’s blindingly obvious that one’s feats are what drives the other on, providing the biggest motivating factor.
There’s simply no need, when Messi writes the headlines, to even involve Ronaldo in the conversation. And vice versa.
Take Messi’s hat-trick against Betis.
There can’t have been too many other trebles that have included such incredible finishes, and maybe there are none at all.
But rather than dwell on just how brilliant it was, much of the Monday morning debate was filled by facts that are of no real consequence.
That Messi is still one career hat-trick behind Ronaldo, that the Portuguese has more Champions Leagues, that the Juve man is the highest scorer ever in the top European tournament…
They, and many other stats, are trotted out, parrot fashion as if to somehow reinforce that Messi will always be in Ronaldo’s shadow.
Messi’s supporters are always looking to denounce Ronaldo’s achievements too.
This endless quest for some sort of fanatical one-upmanship isn’t of any benefit, and moves the conversation away from the absolute fact that both players are in a league of their own.
They have been for years now, and though it’s become cliche to say it, football post-Messi and Ronaldo will be an interesting watch.
Generational talents, they will not be replaced, but someone, probably Kylian Mbappe, will take their crown at some point.
Perhaps then, and only then, will there be a full appreciation of what both players brought to their profession, and what’s more, did so for an unbelievable length of time.
It’s that consistency and longevity which is truly astonishing, but let’s stop throwing around the stats willy-nilly.
Who cares if one has more hat-tricks, goals or assists than the other.
Sit back, relax and enjoy what little time we have left to enjoy them because, in the blink of an eye, both will have exited stage left.