Brazilian football icon Roberto Carlos has said that Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s best because of his determination to stay ahead of his contemporaries.
The former full-back told Fox Sports that Ronaldo’s incredible work ethic, focus and unwavering desire to continually improve his game set him apart from contemporaries such as Lionel Messi and Neymar, even with the Portuguese star now being 32 years of age.
Over the past decade, the football world has been dominated by headlines that have been generated by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Argentine is undoubtedly having the better season of the pair so far this term, but the duo will have the opportunity to test their rivalry on the biggest stage in the summer’s World Cup in Russia; they are both amongst the favourites to come out as golden boot winner according to the betting odds that NetBet published on betting sites.
Joint stranglehold on Ballon d’Or
Of course, with each player generally being in scintillating form year after year, it would be unfair to determine the better of the two on the basis of one tournament. To illustrate this fact: since 2007, no other player besides the pair has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award; the last person to do it apart from them was former AC Milan and Brazil star Kaka.
There have been endless heated debates about who is the better player between Ronaldo and Messi. Each has his own set of admirers and detractors and this is perhaps one of the most popular, and endlessly debated, football arguments in history.
Ronaldo holds international edge
One thing that Ronaldo does boast which Messi does not is a major international trophy. Despite having played in a World Cup final in 2014 as well as three Copa America finals, Messi has never won a major trophy with Argentina.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, reached the 2004 final of the European Championships with Portugal as a 19-year-old. Playing at home, Portugal were widely expected to win the tournament, especially as their opponents in the final were Greece. However, the underdogs pulled off one of the biggest upsets in football history with a 1-0 victory, which ranks right up there with Leicester City’s shock Premier League title victory during the 2015/16 season.
Portugal have not produced many players on par with Ronaldo over the years, and they have often been accused of being a one-man team. That said, during the Euro 2016 tournament, Ronaldo and Portugal finally got to taste international success when they triumphed in the European Championships, overcoming pre-tournament favourites France during the final of the competition.