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C. Ronaldo vs Messi

May 8, 2009 Sukan 79 Comments

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WHO will be the Roman ruler on May 27?

We asked four soccer experts to compare United’s Cristiano Ronaldo with Barca hero Lionel Messi.

Here’s our High Court verdict . . . (plus, don’t forget to have your say on our epoll at the bottom of the page).


Q. WHO would you prefer to have in your team and why?

Graham Taylor: RONALDO is the better player. I don’t use this word often but he is a great player. We have seen a young Portuguese boy come here and develop, which is great. He has more end product than Messi.

Paul Parker: I’M a big fan of Messi. He beats people without pace and drops his shoulder and makes it all look so easy. They are both great players but Messi is slightly easier on the eye.

Jason Roberts: RONALDO because he’s master of many things. He can create, he can score, he’s excellent at those stunning long-range free-kicks. For a winger to get as many goals as he does is phenomenal.

Frank McLintock: WOW, that’s a toughie. It’s like asking if you would want Pele or Maradona. Both are unbelievable players and I’d sell my house to have one of them playing for Arsenal.

Q. WHAT are Ronaldo’s real strengths?

GT: THE way he keeps the ball and his end product. He scored 42 goals last season and that was unbelievable. He is the man for the big stage and I can’t wait to watch him in the Rome final.

STREET FOOTBALLER ... Barca star Lionel Messi

STREET FOOTBALLER … Barca star Lionel Messi

PP: QUITE simply his pace is the strength of his game. He needs it to beat players and it gives him stature. This is the one area where I consider he has the edge over the slightly built Messi.

JR: FOR me Ronaldo is the complete article. His goalscoring last year was exceptional and he’s beginning to catch the bug again now. He can turn a game with those unstoppable free-kicks.

FM: HE is good in the air, he can beat defenders with pace and tricks and he can score goals. Bags of goals. And not only from open play but from set-pieces with his fantastic free-kicks.

Q. AND what are the Portuguese star’s weaknesses?

GT: I JUST can’t see one. It is easy to speak about diving, but if he doesn’t jump out of the way quickly enough he will break a leg. He really does not have a weakness — but you can always improve.

PP: HIS petulance. Sometimes he is his own worst enemy and should smile more often. Every time he gets tackled he thinks it is a foul — but he has got the world in front of him.

JR: I DON’T think he has got any weakness whatsoever in his game. Probably the only thing the Portuguese superstar can’t do is make a cup of tea whilst playing football. He really is that good.

FM: I HAVE to say the only weakness I can see is he does have a tendency to be a pain in the backside sometimes. But the rest of his entertaining play more than makes up for that.

Q. WHAT do you think Messi’s real strengths are?

GT: HE can get through the tightest of gaps. When you watch him, surrounded by three defenders, you think he won’t get through them. But somehow he manages it. His close control is sensational.

PP: HE is a natural street footballer in what he does and didn’t get told how to play by coaches or from some soccer school manual. Everybody enjoys watching him play, he’s so sleight of foot.

JR: MESSI is a fantastic little player. His pace and performances this season — up to the Chelsea games — and eight goals in the Champions League prove that for sure. I enjoy watching him.

FM: HE might not be as good as Ronaldo in the air but, apart from that, he can do everything the Manchester United player does. And the Argentinian has a better temperament than Ronaldo.

Q. AND what are the Argentine schemer’s weaknesses?

GT: HE is so left-footed and it makes you think he lacks power in the right. If you can get him on the right side he won’t be as effective. Ronaldo is two-footed and that is what Messi needs to master.

PP: I REALLY can’t see any. The only thing you might say is that he doesn’t score against Premier League teams and that could come into the equation when he faces United.

JR: MAYBE he went missing at times during both legs of the semi-final. That was a shame. He denied a worldwide audience the chance to see him at his best. Perhaps it will come in the final.

FM: THE only question marks over him are his performances against Chelsea when he did not live up to expectations. But he is still an exceptional player and would be on any teamsheet.

Q. Who will lift the Champions League trophy in Rome on May 27?

GT: MANCHESTER UNITED on penalties. I have a nagging feeling it will happen again — just like in Moscow last year. It is the final everyone wanted and I hope it lives up to expectations.

PP: IT is the final most people wanted to see and I would love to see my former club win. But I also love watching Barcelona play. Whatever happens, football will be the winner in Rome later this month.

JR: RONALDO. United are so strong defensively and in attack. Barca are probably my favourite team to watch but I don’t think they put as much effort into defending as they do attacking.

FM: IT’S a very close call but I have to say Ronaldo because I fancy United just to shade the final in Rome. That will give them the title for a second successive year and it will be thoroughly deserved.

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