I can already sense the blood of all the Leo Messi fans out there boiling in anger at my title.
But let me explain why Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest football player on the planet.
From his time at Manchester United, Ronaldo acquired and perfected, the tools of the trade that have chiseled him in to the incredible human being he is today.
He has fine-tuned pretty much every attribute in the game. His explosive speed matches his electrifying dribbling pace. He can create a chance from scratch and ends up audaciously finishing that chance. His shooting is literally deadly. If a keeper was to be hit in the head by one of his rockets, then it’s certain death.
So, he has the skill, pace and can rifle a deadly strike. But that’s not all.
Do you remember the scrawny 18-year-old from Sporting CP? He’d often gallop past the first defender, but then feel the force of English football’s reality, in the shape of a centre-back’s shoulder.
Former United defender, Gary Neville, said how he was ready to give up on Ronaldo: “He had been flailing around on the ground, he was never in his position and he was unreliable.”
The young Ronaldo was, at times, an annoying possession waster. Yet, he had that something different. Defenders hated his cockiness and persistence. But to be the best, he had to build on the physical side of his game. And that’s exactly what he did.
After the 2006 World Cup, Neville noticed a drastic change to Ronaldo: “He walked into the dressing room and I thought: 'Jeez, what has happened to him over the summer?' When he had come to the club he was this thin, wiry boy. Now he was a light heavyweight. He'd been on the weights and it was like watching someone grow up in a matter of weeks. And what ensued for the next two years was astonishing.”
The level he’s at now is the peak of footballing capability. I say he’s the best because if you put him in any area on the field, he’d cause problems.
Yet, Messi – put him in the box during a corner – most of the time he’s ineffective. Same again when defending. His height limits his power on the field. Ronaldo has no problem in this area. At 6’2 and with a gazelle-like leap, Ronaldo will punish you. And I guess that’s why he has the edge over Messi. As much as the little Argentine can offer, Ronaldo can give you just that little bit more.