Thursday Dec 28, 2017
As another year goes by, the debate still stands: who ruled 2017, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ronaldo, despite winning five out of six trophies, couldn’t silence his critics who claim Messi has been better ‘individually’ this year. Ronaldo matched Messi's record five Ballon d'Or earlier this month, which means both of them now share a total of 10 La Liga titles, eight Champions League titles and 10 Ballon d'Or.
But whatever the rivalry, both Ronaldo and Messi have forever written themselves in the history books.
As the year ends, let’s take a look at how both individuals measured up to each other in 2017.
Ronaldo and Messi were interestingly neck to neck in terms of goals scored in the year, with both of them tied at 53 goals each before heading into the El Clasico in December. Messi’s penalty in the 3-0 victory over Real Madrid meant he took the lead over his Portuguese rival.
When comparing the league goals between the two, there is a vast difference in the total goals scored as Messi sits with 40 goals while Ronaldo with only 19.
However, Ronaldo has been lethal in Europe, scoring a total of 19 goals whereas Messi has only scored 4 goals.
Ronaldo has also scored more goals for his country, hitting 11 goals from 11 matches whereas Messi managed to score 4 from 7.
2017 for Real Madrid and Ronaldo has been one of the best years in terms of trophies.
Real Madrid won five titles out of a possible six first time in the club’s history, including La Liga, the historic Champions League trophy, European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
Real Madrid had never managed to win five titles in a calendar year before. Ronaldo proved to be the driving force for Los Blancos, as his goals were decisive especially in the Champions League where the Portuguese scored five against Bayern and three against Atletico Madrid, leading his team to the final.
Real Madrid then went on to play Juventus in the final where Cristiano scored another two, making Real Madrid the first side to win back to back Champions League titles since the inception of the tournament.
Messi and Barcelona had a relatively quiet year in terms of trophies, where they only managed to win just a single trophy: the Copa Del Rey against Alaves. Messi was instrumental in Barcelona’s 3-1 victory in the final where the Argentine scored one while setting up the other.
Ronaldo’s effort in decisive moments for Real Madrid didn’t go unnoticed in the football community. The Portuguese skipper was named the FIFA player of the year in October.
Ronaldo was also awarded the Ballon D’Or earlier in December, matching his Argentine rival to a total of five each.
After scoring 12 goals in the Champions League, Ronaldo was also named the best player of the tournament.
Despite being the runner up to the Ballon D’Or award, Messi did have the upper hand in one department: the Argentine was the top scorer in 2016/17 La Liga season, scoring 37 league goals in 34 appearances.
He was also the cream of the crop across Europe's top leagues, winning the 2016-17 Golden Shoe - his fourth time scooping the gong.
After a brilliant first half of the year, the second half of the season proved to be relatively poor for Ronaldo's standards, as he managed only 4 goals in 12 league games.
His five-match ban at the start of the season didn’t help his cause either. Ronaldo was penalised for shoving the referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in their 3-1 win in the Super Cup over Barcelona.
Messi on the other hand has been in red hot form as his goals have led Barcelona to top of the league.
This year has had its ups and downs for both Messi and Ronaldo. Both of them had their say in a lot of matches. Messi might have the bragging rights of the El Clasico victories but it is Ronaldo who has had the last laugh in terms of both individual and collective accolades.
This article is part of Geo.tv's look back at 2017