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Who is better, Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar or Mbappe?

Just copying and pasting my answer to a similiar question

Sreeram Krishnaswamy’s answer to Who is the best footballer among Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar?

I have already written and answer has a detailed statistical comparison between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The only reason I am writing this again is because I enjoy writing about football and particularly Lionel Messi.

So coming back to the question age old debate or you could say the million dollar question who is better Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. I am going to use a metaphor just to make it clear that both are equally talented and both have different styles of play the only thing that differs is the opinion football fans around the world. The Messi Ronaldo debate is just like an endless sea voyage the only thing you see going forward the sky and the sea both, shade of blue , and while some enjoy staring at the sky, others have fun looking down at the sea. But that doesn’t take out the fact both are equally important and imagining a sea trip without the sky or the calm water is practically impossible. For me the current football scenario without either of Messi or Ronaldo is unimaginable. This head to head is what many enjoy and what we would never see for many years to come. And it is worth mentioning that there are a lot of names that people would like on the same bracket. During a sea voyage you would find exquisite birds touching the limits of the sky and you would find beautiful dolphins and killer orcas coming up to the surface of the sea and jumping to its very deep. But neither do the birds get to touch the very end of the sky and neither could the sea creatures drive to the deepest portion of the sea. The sky could not be the sea and the sea cannot be the sky. If some people enjoy diving to the deepest waters enjoy touching the elements of the sky. Put it this way CR7 is the sky and Lionel Messi is the sea. Getting to the other two names that this question exposed in front of me. You might find brilliant coral reefs inside the sea and you also could find enigmatic auroras shining In The Sky. Putting things into perspective people always find some talent that they feel will be the ones to eclipse what Messi and Ronaldo have done for years.

If in 2010 , it was a talented young kid called Thomas Muller , who coincidently went on to win the best young player award in the grandest stage, following year in 2011 it was fellow countryman Marco Reus. In 2012 talents like Adrien Rabiot, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw etc. caught the eye of spectators and they would. Passing through an endless stretch of deep blue sea , the fishes jumping out would surely catch an eye.

Once someone went to some deep stretch of the sea and came out calling that he has found the ruins of the amazing city of Atlantis. It caught enough eyes and more eyes than any swordfish or Killer Whales or Great Whites could ever attract. It was that sort of an attraction. In around 2012, a team of scouts from the city of Barcelona visited the city where footballing prodigies are found, Brazil. In between their talent hunt, a kid from Santos caught their eyes. He was too good for his age, he was making the ball dance to his tune, the South American game was too easy for him. They went back to the club and reported their finding. The gem was too good to not be in Europe. For €80m , the priceless one, landed at FC Barcelona and the world was watching. Is this kid worth it? Can he roll up the sleeves and go to business? The start was not good, injured in his first few minutes. But he performed amazingly on his return, he dribbled out the likes of Ramos and Pepe, he created nuisance for the Ice Man from Croatia Luka Modrić, he attracted fouls and won penalties. His clasico performance had the world guessing, Is this Messi’s heir at Barcelona, is he making Messi look good or is it the other way round. During the absence of Argentine Maestro Lionel Messi due to injury, he had to lead the frontline alongside the Deadly Goal Poacher Luis Suarez. And the world was shook numerous times. Spain could not handle the dribbles and the assists. The kid performed too good, but was it only against so called small teams even though he has no Messi alongside ? He answered again, in an El Clasico minus , he was a standout . A 4-0 drubbing of Real Madrid, without Barça having their trump card. The world knew , Barça had a new trump card, who could perform irrespective of opposition and support. Neymar Jr had caught the eye of the world. He had more up his sleeves, The Golden Boy of Brazil had a homecoming World Cup but he was injured by a horror tackle before Brazil was dismantled by eventual champions Germany. In 2015, he put a ball past the great Gianluigi Buffon, sealing a second treble for the Blaugrana. And in the same year he was nominated for the Ballon d’Or award alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But what followed afterwards was nothing short of shocking, in the summer 2017 neymar junior agreed a deal at PSG, his transfer fees was €222m. The so-called successor of Lionel Messi at Barcelona left Barcelona because he wanted to prove himself. To be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo he felt he needed to get out of the shadow of Lionel Messi. His stint at PSG is nearing a year and in the meantime he has managed to become one of the most hated footballers in the world. He fought with fellow teammate Edinson Cavani over free kicks and penalties, robbed Cavani from getting his 100th goal for PSG because he was on a hattrick, he was time and again criticized for leaving the club that showed him the way to Europe and just like an icing on the cake his exaggeration of tackles was too much. At one point of his career when Messi promised him that he will help him get Ballon d’Or, he left that same person only to not even make the cut for FIFA The Best Top 10. Neymar possibly ruined his own reputation and career for more salary and more fame. He isn’t half the performer that Messi is or CR7 is and he has learnt absolutely nothing from Messi about discipline, being humble focusing on the game. With all due respect Neymar to change himself to be considered a worthy competitor for the Ballon d’Or, time is with him.

Further into the sea voyage near Arctic some astrophysicist found a unique phenomena labelled as Steve which was apparently a type of Aurora. This find very recent and just like that two years back, the French League found a new competitor for the title apparently PSG were on the back foot. AS Monaco spearheaded by a veteran striker Radamel Falcao were heading full steam ahead. Supporting him in the attack was an 18 year old kid and he was something special. His finishing was top class, he had good pace. And his performances were considered too good for an 18 year old. Monaco the league that season amazingand amazingly reached the semis of the UCL, knocking a rampant Manchester City out in the process. With his goals and serious pace at his age, he drew comparisons to a young Leo Messi at Barcelona. A photo of him with Idol CR7 surfaced the internet and people imagined he could out do his idol. The following season he had a big money transfer to PSG but this season was the same as last. There weren’t much things to be amazed about that he had in his breakout season. Some would label the performance by the weak Ligue 1 opposition defenses as well. His 2018 , World Cup was where he showcased again, winning the Best Young player award. But his world cup performances were good for a 19 year old, he won a World Cup at 19 year old. He has been compared to Messi at 19 years old. Can we please stop it, Mbappe is a kid and he has atleast 11 more years to go. And if he can do what he is done till now in a much better way, we can think about comparisons. Messi at 19 was at Barcelona and not PSG. Real Madrid reportedly did not want Mbappe for wings, they got Vinicius Junior. It is not that they don’t have funds and PSG would have been forced to sell due to FFP regulations. Messi performed in La Liga which has better opposition than Ligue 1. Messi scored a hattrick vs Real Madrid at 19 for a 10 man Barça. Messi won 4 Ballon D Or s at 23. I don’t see Mbappe winning those even though he could perform with better stats and better body. He has less goals this season than Messi at 31. So Mbappe is good but to be considered as good as Messi , he needs to perform better and perform consistently for 15 more years.

Everyone gets compared to Messi, Messi seems to be benchmark. Messi is way above benchmark, he is GTX 1080 , with 16GB of RAM and Intel Core i7 7700K. He is a not a system in which you have to check http://gamedebate.com to see if you could run a game. You could call Mbappe that. You don’t know whether he will perform well at bigger clubs like Manchester, Barcelona and Madrid , he hasn’t played outside France.

Finally the two best of this generation, a rivalry as people call it. It all started when then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson brought in a kid from Sporting CP. A tall yet very lean kid aged 18. He played well enough at the club, he liked the ball at his feet, his crossovers were good, his long range freekicks were good. A star in the making, a 22 year old Cristiano Ronaldo went to win his first Champions League title and received his first Ballon D Or nominations. Not that much distant from England, in the meantime at the city of Barcelona in Spain, a kid aged 17 started his senior career at the club. That is one year after Ronaldo moved to The Theatre of Dreams. And the league games and championships in Spain were never the same again. When Frank Rijkaard substituted a Portuguese midfielder called Deco for a 17 year old, long hair, small build in the 82nd minute against Espanyol, who would have thought what was to follow. In the following year at the Joan Gamper trophy against Juventus , the breakthrough for the kid came. Who else has forced an opposition manager to ask for a player during a match. Fabio Capello was shook by the performance of the kid and he acknowledged the talent .

“In my entire life I have never seen a player of such quality and personality at such a young age, particularly wearing the ‘heavy’ shirt of one of the world’s great clubs.” – Fabio Capello

The same year Barça won their first league title in 6 long years. From the first chip that came in 2005 against Albacete from an assist of the smiling assassin Ronaldinho, to the first hattrick 2 years later. Lionel Messi grew as a player. At the tender age of 18,. Inter Milan threw an offer at Messi but the young mind refused the offer and decided to stay. Then club President Joan Laporta conceded that it was the only time the club faced a real risk of losing the kid.

Ronaldo and Messi have come head to head of lot of times afterwards. The first one coming at the Champions league in 2008 when Manchester won over two legs. The next one came the following season when the kid that no one expected could jump high enough to head the ball, headed it past the Dutch Edwin Van Der Sar and sealed Barcelona’s victory. Who is the best ?

This question has shifted directions on both sides when during the young age Lionel Messi’s utter domination left no space for a debate , Ronaldo has been good enough to win the Ballon D Or the same number of times coming today. You would get no convincing answer. No Ronaldo fan would be convinced that Messi is the best same thing vice versa. For me it his been Messi, it always has been him. Since the first time I saw the belligerent intelligence of the little man, to the first hattrick against the arch rivals to pick up a downed team, to winning six trophies in an year, to humiliating the bullying Real Madrid defences of Cannavaro, Ramos, Guti and to making a fool out of players when he dribbles past. It always has been him.

You won’t see Leo in match highlights as much as you see Ronaldo, you wouldn’t see NBA jumps, NFL accelerations or Bicycle kicks from him. But you would see Magic, something I have never seen from CR7. On the ball , Ronaldo has opted out slowly and almost nowadays he sees the ball only when it reaches his head or his feet near the box. And yet when he is called a Dangerous Goal Poacher , people will rain as if it were an abuse to him. INZAGHI was the poacher not him, he can assist, he can jump, he doesn’t have body fat, he is better than little dwarf, little dwarf can only perform at Barcelona, has he proven himself in different leagues, has he got an international trophy, was did he do a fake retirement? Is this the way ? Do we need this type of nonsense when all we should focus is football?

Yes, Ronaldo does assist but are those through balls on most occasions, Yes he jumps high but is jumping all that it takes to be a footballer. FYI Messi has won a header vs Ronaldo. Yes he accelerates but is it on the ball acceleration. Bicycle kick is amazing to see but does that mean it is easy to dribble past the opposition from your half, beat the whole defence, beat the goalkeeper and score the labelled Goal of the Century at age 18. In the other answer I have given every possible stat for stat padders that proves Messi is The Best . The Undisputed Best.

Here are some questions I always expect? Why did you not talk about Messi not moving on to different clubs , different challenges. Can he do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?

The club is the reason that Messi is Messi. They funded his growth hormone disease treatment. They made him who he is. He doesn’t want to leave. He wants to be loyal. Yet people would say, he renews contracts then and now. This is not even linked to football. Yet to answer it a contract renewal, is an oppurtunity to increase the release clause and the salary. Money Hungry. Doesn’t he work for it? CR7 left for Juventus why? New challenges? He is paid more at Juve. His age is catching up to perform at a league like La Liga. What about the conditions ? Adaptability? Pressure? 30 seconds into the clock . World Cup Qualifier, you lose you are the scapegoat. Your shit defense concedes. At an altitude 2000 m above, sea level, light showers. Night time. Is that enough to sound better than a cold rainy night in Stoke? You pull up your socks and score a hattrick. You guide your team to R

Russia who won 1 out of 7 qualifying matches without you. In return you get abuses for getting knocked out in R16. EPL is no child’s play. Messi plays in farmers league. Messi has more goals than CR7 against the Top 5 EPL teams.

He hasn’t won an international trophy. He isn’t the best. He won the World Cup Golden Ball in 2014. The best player in the World Cup. Yes fate hasn’t gifted him a World Cup, I remember when the shot from the left foot fired a whisker wide of the post. The penalty was misfired way above the post at US. But what has his team done for him, what did his teammates do for him. Dybala was underplayed at the World Cup , Higuain, Aguero and Otamendi among the others perform brilliantly for their club and not for the country. It is commendable that CR7 won a Euro Cup. But to call one international trophy the greatest thing in the world and thus belittling achievements that Messi got with the national team including Olympic Gold, U21 World Cup guiding his team to three finals all of them in ruined by a Higuain miss is idiotic. By this logic Giroud is the better than Ronaldo since he won the World Cup. Dani Alves is better as he has proven himself in different leagues.

I respect the style of play of CR7, he is almost always on the scoresheet, he runs well, he is on position to guide it home , his control and finishing is good. But to those who call Messi lazy and useless dribbles and useless play. I would tell you this , Ronaldo isn’t half the dribbler that Messi is, he could make a commentator spit the word MAGIC from the mouth, he couldn’t force a team to not celebrate being a goal or two up when he is warming up, Ronaldo’s vision isn’t any good. The first game at Juventus without Kroos, Modrić and Marcelo was poor against a weak Chievo while Messi without Xavi and Iniesta is the same. Without Xavi he has been dropping deep as hell, and now in the last game , he started from behind Umtiti with the ball.

At times I try to imagine, what Leo Messi’s career and legacy would’ve been and looked upon if it had not been ruined by media. The sad reality is that media has taken power over football, not in a way of controlling it, but painting the way we percieve the sport and the players.

Statistics decide a player’s performance, and, apparently, goals decide a player’s greatness. Do not get me wrong, goals are a vital part of football and is a skill you should be able to pull of to gain recognition. And that’s where people look for greatness, the players who are the most recognised. Why do you think Iniesta, who definitely deserved a Balon D’or atleast once in his illustrous career, didn’t achieve it? Because an artist like him, who pulls the strings behind the curtains, isn’t as recognised by the viewers as someone who bags in goals. If you want attention in the sport you need to score the goals, ask Ronaldo, he has it all figured out. He’s got his PR team who work tirelessly to protect his image and he has adapted his game to maximize his chances of scoring.

Every single move Ronaldo makes, everything from cool yet ineffective tricks on the pitch to time after time praising himself as the GOAT, is calculated to perfection to increase his popularity. Ronaldo is an extrovert who loves himself and makes sure everybody else do to. On the other side we have the little introverted magician, who may embarass opponents on the pitch and make them look silly but off the pitch he is as humble as any normal human being. He doesn’t boast about himself, he doesn’t say he’s the greatest, he doesn’t point at himself when he scores but rather towards the sky to remind himself of his humble beginnings and of who encouraged him to play the beautiful game.

Leo is the most complete football player that has ever played the sport, without a doubt. He makes the impossible seem possible and even easy and by doing that he has made it into a habit for us who watch him every week. Albeit all of this, he is not a product, he is not a model, he is not a guy who talks about himself as if he were a God, he is not controversial, he is not the media’s golden boy. Leo is an artist, he is a magician, he is something this world has never seen before, he is something that you cannot train to become, he is the epitome of football. Uniqueness is Messi.

PS : THIS IS MY OPINION AND MAYBE MANY OTHERS, YOU DON’T NEED TO COMMENT UNNECESSARILY IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THE ANSWER. THIS ANSWER IN NO WAY MEANS AN ABUSE TO ANY OF THE PLAYERS MENTIONED.