With the World Cup once again upon us, many of us are looking back at some of the legendary players from the past. But modern-day football has produced some of the most impressive guys to ever take the field.
Neymar’s teammate, Luis Suarez, is another of the most exciting players around. Suarez is also from South America. He hails from Uruguay and plays striker for Barcelona. He’s another furious type with a knack for putting the ball away. In just a little over two seasons with the team, he’s scored over 100 goals.
The third Barcelona teammate on everyone’s radar is no surprise: Lionel Messi. Regarded by many as the greatest player ever, Messi certainly deserves a top spot on our list. At 29, he’s in between Neymar and Suarez but plays with an unrivaled maturity. The Argentina born player has been an unstoppable force at winger for the Barcelona side. He has four Champions League titles under his belt, not to mention his eight La Liga titles. It’s safe to say that Barcelona is never going to have another player as productive.
You can’t talk about the accomplishments of Messi without mentioning his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Slightly older than Messi, Ronaldo at 32 is just as impressive. He has three Champions League titles with Real Madrid, to Messi’s four. But Ronaldo is a goal-scoring machine. He’s had six seasons of scoring fifty or more goals. And that is just so far in his career. No one would be surprised if he continues his scoring rampage.
World Cup Rivalry
In this year’s World Cup, both Messi and Ronaldo are expected to be instrumental to their respective teams. Portugal (Ronaldo’s team) is ranked number 4 with 1,274 points. Messi’s Argentina is just behind in the number 5 spot with 1,241 points.
Argentina is generally considered to have the stronger team but neither side is a favorite to make it to the finals. Portugal kicks off on Friday the 15th against the powerful Spain in their first game in Group B. Argentina is set to begin on Saturday the 16th against Iceland in Group D.
But what if the impossible does happen? What would it mean for Messi and Ronaldo to face on football’s world stage? Well it would be the game of the century. The Messi/Ronaldo rivalry is not just about which is the best player. It’s about the Madrid/Barcelona rivalry and the political tension between the two cities. Madrid is the capitol of the country and holds the most political power. Barcelona is the heart of the Catalan region and an economic force for the country. It’s no secret that many in Barcelona feel they should be separate from the rest of Spain.
The political issues all add together to create a fierce rivalry between the two teams and their star players. Not to mention the difference in their styles of play. Ronaldo is flashy and arrogant while Messi is quiet and humble.
Whether you follow the Real Madrid/Barcelona rivalry or not, there’s no question that an Argentina/Portugal final would be the most exciting World Cup Championship yet. It all starts on July 14th. We’ll just have to wait and see.