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A Tale of Two Masters

The Ballon d’Or winner was revealed last week and Cristiano Ronaldo won the award, who would’ve guessed. We have come to a point where we feel like this award is given out 5 times a year. It has become just another trophy for Messi or Ronaldo to win. It all kind of blends together. (Neymar cries softly in Portuguese)


It’s hard to imagine how Lionel Messi blew a 4-1 lead in this award. When Messi had a 4-1 lead, if you had told someone that Ronaldo would catch him in 2017, no one would have believed. He was also leading 2-1 in kids until Ronaldo scored a hat-trick of kids, that too twins. Scoring twins in under a minute is an achievement in itself.


Let us talk about some stats now. 16% of all the Ballon d’Or was won by either Messi or Ronaldo. This is incredible. If you randomly choose a player from the box of players containing Ballon d’Or winners, you’ll get Messi or Ronaldo most of the time. Literally, no other player who has won the Ballon d’Or is playing competitive football anymore.


My serious prediction is for 2018 to be the last year dominated by both Ronaldo and Leo. Whoever wins 2018 will have the last laugh between the two. We will have to see who wins it next year. Considering all the Ballon d’Or awards have gone to the winner of the champions league when it has been awarded to them, it might do them very well if they can guide their respective teams to glory in Europe.

2019 will be a start of deviation from the Messi and Ronaldo era. And obviously since 2019 is 2 years away, we won’t know who will be the winner but my guess at least one of Neymar, Mbappe or Pogba will be in the top 3. There are many different facets to each of them.Neymar isn’t French and his name doesn’t end with a vowel. Mbappé is the only one younger than 20 and has only played in one league at a senior level. Pogba is the only midfielder and the only one currently sponsored by Adidas. Meanwhile, Hazard is another serious candidate come the year after the next if he maintains what he has going on now.


When 2019 rolls around, we can probably expect someone we’d consider to be a top young talent with a bright future now to start to creep into the top 3, like Asensio, or Walcott (LOL) or the Egyptian god himself. Some say next year is Salah’s year, but only if they put it to a public online vote.


Coming back to the business, well there was no doubt that Cristiano would catch up. The man is a specimen when it comes to discipline, how committed he is to his fitness and developing his game. Like many who actually admire the beautiful game say: they both made each other better through the competition. They pushed each other. And sometimes even in football, rivalries are what brings out the best in players.

One might argue Messi had more “natural talent” or a better “well rounded” game but both are integral to their teams’ success. I think Messi is the better player, but Ronaldo deserves the accolades. You have to consider that Ronaldo seems like the kind of person who would’ve looked at that lead of 4-1 that Messi had and have that motivate him more to improve and catch up.

We are a lucky generation to witness these two freaks of nature go at it. Ronaldo is the kind of guy who flexes in family pictures. Now Cristiano has one ballon d’Or for each of his kids. What a great father.

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