By Mathias Ubugha
Ever since the advent of the sport called football, several talented stars have been making history through their skillful performance on the pitch and their relationship with team mates.
We’ve seen scores of them reach the peak of their career and retire peacefully to lead simple lives while others chose to take part in the politics of their countries and others became coaches.
However, never in the history of this uniting game called football has anyone matched the records made by Argentine Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC in the Spanish La Liga and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus who have been rivals for years now over who is the best of the best.
Well, as the saying goes, “whenever there is a position, there is bound to be opposition”
However, ill-feelings can sprung up from opposition which can lead to other acts as well.
Just recently, a total score of 51 goals and 22 assists in just 50 appearances saw Messi writing his name again (for the sixth time) in football’s history book as FIFA’s Best Men of the Year Player, by beating Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk and his longstanding rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who has five but was hopefully that this would be his sixth. How unfortunate!
Reactions however have continued to trail this award as some persons feel it was just another daylight fraud by FIFA again, who they claim only focuses on goal scorers and look down on every other player.
Others are however of the opinion that the award was for individual brilliance as Messi is the greatest man in the history of football and has proven himself severally to be phenomenal.
It may surprise you to know that between this two world football legends, Ronaldo was the first to win the FIFA Best Men of the Year Award in 2008.
The tables turned in the most unfavourable way as Messi concurrently dominated the award collection from 2009-2012, a period of four years.
The joy of winning returned to Ronaldo as he clinched the award from 2013-2014, a period of just two years.
Messi took over again in 2015 while Ronaldo interrupted and lifted the award in 2016 and 2017.
Both players missed the award in 2018 as Luka Modric’s amazing performance in the 2018 World Cup Event as captain of his country side Croatia made his head worthy of wearing the crown.
Then came 2019, another time for Ronaldo to decorate his award show glass with another award, only to be snatched by Messi.
It may therefore sound reasonable to understand why Ronaldo wouldn’t be happy to hobnob with his joy killer in a dinner invitation.
He has gone at length to express his displeasure with “funny” looks at Messi, comments and others.
It would be recalled that Lionel Messi voted for Ronaldo as his second choice but Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t vote for Lionel Messi in his first, second and third choice.
Instead Cristiano Ronaldo as the captain of Portugal voted for De Ligt Matthijs as his first choice, De Jong Frenkie was his second choice and Mbappe Kylian his third choice while Lionel Messi considered Cristiano Ronaldo fit to be in the top three of FIFA best with Ronaldo voted as his second choice, Sadio Mane was his first choice and De Jong Frenkie his third choice.
Most recently was Ronaldo’s refusal to congratulate his contemporary on his award as FIFA Men’s Player of the Year, 2019.
Instead, he updated his Instagram account with the message below:
“Patience and persistence are two characteristics that differentiate the professional from the amateur.’ writes Ronaldo.
“Everything that is big today has started small. You can’t do everything, but do everything you can to make your dreams come true.’
‘And keep in mind that after night always comes dawn.”
While some quarters have seen the message as a motivational post on instagram which a normal person would say, others are taking it for pride and sense bitterness in his tone.
More so, a British TV personality, Piers Morgan has thrown a shade at Messi after he won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
He tweeted thus, “until Messi does anything outside his Barcelona comfort zone, he can’t be compared to Ronaldo”
While he was airing out his opinion, some other persons were seeing it to be that Ronaldo is competing with Messi while Messi is competing with himself.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu and numerous fans have continued to pour in congratulatory messages to Messi after another The Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
In the spirit of sportmanship, it is expected for losers and winners to shake hands after a game but the reality of losing is a shock most people can’t control and react accordingly.
Though competition is a reality living around us, it would be better if it were done in a healthy manner to serve as a model for the rising stars.
The players are back on the pitch, doing all what they can to impress FIFA, their clubs, their countries and their fans.
2020 is sure to reveal to the world once more who is fittest to wear the crown.
Until then, fans and football lovers have been charged to encourage all players (especially Messi and Ronaldo), instead of putting them at loggerheads as to who is the finest.