Lionel Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Who Is Number One?

01/12/2013 22:51 GMT | Updated 31/01/2014 10:59 GMT

A lot has been said in the debate between Messi and Ronaldo, but everyone will have their own favourite. Their skill, pace and creativity are on another level compared to the people they share the pitch with.

The stats on both players tell their own story. Messi has scored 217 goals in 197 appearances, an average of 1.10 goals per game, whilst Ronaldo has notched 206 in 193 appearances, an average of 1.07. Both are staggering statistics.

This season, the stats will tell you that Ronaldo is the better player in terms of goals scored, with 25 goals from 18 appearances in all competitions, excluding international matches, while Messi has 14 goals from 16 appearances.

While the stats are helpful in showing just how far away these two are from the chasing pack, they don't show other factors, such as the player's contribution to the side.

Though Messi has collected 13 trophies since Ronaldo arrived at Madrid, the fact remains that he has been playing in the best team in the world and is only the most vital cog in an already extraordinary Barcelona machine. I'm very confident that if you were to put Ronaldo in the Barcelona squad he would have the same effect as Messi, albeit in his own style.

But, and I'm sure people will disagree with this, if you put Messi in a Real Madrid shirt, would he have the same effect? My thought is no. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that he would be less effective at almost any other team in the world.

Barcelona suits his style of play in a way that no other team could. He is their icing on the cake if you like, but put Ronaldo in any other team and he would make that team better, mainly through his own contribution, because his style of play is easily adaptable.

Put him on the wing and he would run passed full-backs and get crosses into the box. Stick him upfront on his own and he would cause centre-backs all sorts of problems, as has been seen on many occasions.

Ronaldo's versatility sets him apart from Messi, just look at him when he pulls on an Argentina shirt. He is less effective and can, at times, go missing from games without making an impact. He still has world-class players around him like Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, so the excuse of lesser players to bounce off of cannot be accepted.

In the case of Ronaldo, you only have to look as far as Portugal's recent play-off encounter with Sweden to see the impact he can have on a team as he basically won the game for Portugal all by himself.

This really is what sets Ronaldo apart. If you put him upfront for Crystal Palace, then he would score and create goals. He would be the difference in a lot of games. Messi just wouldn't have the same impact, not even close.

In order to prove he is the best player in the world, he needs to move on from Barcelona and prove himself at another club in another country. Maybe the reason he hasn't is because he knows that so long as he is surrounded by Xavi, Iniesta and other phenomenal talents, then he will continue to 'stand out'.

Most people will pick their favourite based on the style of play, the team they play for, or maybe just because they don't like the other. Both of these exceptional men are brilliant players, but whilst Messi is a great player in a great Barcelona team, Ronaldo is a great player in his own right and would be in any team.

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