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Top stars’ speed, skill clash

This weekend, two of the world’s best go head to head, two who may go down as the best ever at their game.

On Saturday, Lionel Messi and Barcelona take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid in a pivotal game in the Spanish La Liga that could all but determine the champion of Spain this year.

With Madrid leading by four points and five games remaining in the season, this game surely decides the title, in what I believe is the best league in the world.

These two teams usually meet at least four times a year, and Barcelona usually comes out on top, but think something more poignant comes about if emphasis is placed on the teams’ stars.

No doubt Ronaldo and Messi earned reputations as the best two players in the world at the moment, but could we be seeing the best two players to ever play the game go up against each other?

I have seen both of these players play in person, and while I have no opinion as to who is better, both players bring something different to the table, which makes them difficult to compare.

Ronaldo stands at 6 feet 1 inch, and is hands down the best athlete in any sport in the world at the moment. The athleticism and power with the control is unmatched by anyone.

The speed at which he plays the game is unseen and he is the only player who consistently scores from long range with ease, and his aerial ability is hard to stop.

Ronaldo mixes power with a finesse that makes any defender in the world nervous.

Messi stands at just 5 feet 7 inches, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in skill.

To put it simply, he makes the game of soccer look easy. He can dribble past anyone with ease, and always shows up in the biggest games for Barcelona.

While Ronaldo can score from 35 yards out, Messi chooses to dribble through the opposition and finish with a simple tap in.

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His skill and composure in tight areas is unlike anyone else in the world.

It’s hard to say which style of play is better, because they both produce results. Just look at last weekend, when both players broke the La Liga scoring record in the same day.

Last season was remarkable for Ronaldo, when he scored 40 goals, a new record in La Liga.

Last weekend Ronaldo broke his own record, and Messi scored two goals to take each of their tallies to 41 goals in the league.

To put in perspective how big an achievement this is, look at the numbers.

La Liga has been competing since 1929. During that 83-year period, 12 European players of the year have competed in La Liga.

None of those players ever managed to score more than 40 goals in a season, let alone 41 with five games remaining.

This season, Messi broke the scoring record for Barcelona, one of the best teams ever, with 234 goals in his career at the age of just 24. He already won three world player of the year awards and averages .77 goals per game in La Liga.

This year, Ronaldo was the fastest player to ever reach 100 goals in La Liga and averages an astounding 1.11 goals per game. He has scored 13 hat tricks in 96 La Liga games for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, 27, has already reached his prime, while Messi is still improving game after game, and we may have yet to see him at his best, which is scary.

Barring injury, both players still have at least one World Cup left to perform on the international stage and stamp themselves in the history books.

While most critics would pick Messi over Ronaldo, in 20 years we will look back on these players’ careers as two of the best the world has ever seen.

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