El Clasico has proven to be one of the most remarkable fixtures since the middle of the last century. At first, on the 70’s, Spaniards were able to experience the early great clashes among Real Madrid and Barcelona, while a couple of years later we saw Romario and Rivaldo face the mythical Raúl. It is not necessary to mention that at the beginnings of the millennium we had the pleasure of seeing Ronaldo Nazario, Zidane, Ronaldinho and Puyol, among others, in the same football field playing against each other. Now, the dimension of ‘El Clasico’ was abysmal until two players started facing each other to write a chapter with no precedents in the history of football. We’re talking about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These two individuals have been the greatest players for the last 10 years, competing in every single aspect and defining a new era of football records.
On one hand, Ronaldo is pure ambition, speed, leadership and hard work. Messi, on the other hand, is nothing but a pure natural talent that was born to play football while showing great skills, accurate shooting and gameplay vision. With almost opposite styles of playing, each player has now 5 ballon D’or since 2008, monopolizing the most prestigious award in football year after year for a decade.
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived to Madrid with the sole desire of being the best… and he did it. 4 Champions League in 5 years, doing it during a brilliant football era were Barcelona had Messi, Bayern had Lewandowski and his friends and Atlético de Madrid was under the hands of ‘el Cholo’? It’s just pure madness. Besides this, he has won two ‘La Ligas’ and two Copas del Rey, something that is worthy of commenting. So, 16 titles in 10 years: the ‘Ronaldo effect’. The Portuguese changed drastically the history for ‘Los Merengues’; the before and after of the arrival of the beast.
On the other hand, Messi has 31 years and 33 trophies won with Barcelona FC. Captain and fundamental player at the team, Lionel is on his way to become the biggest winner in the history of the club and why not, on the history of football. Besides this truly amazing stat, he is also the leader on the goal scoring and assisting list of the club (all-time). This Argentine is from another planet.
The old ‘El clásico’
This acclaimed match, where the biggest teams in the world collide, will never be the same. La Liga had the undisputed best two teams in the world, and with them, the two best players. We have for sure have good memories from these past years; Messi showing his shirt at the Bernabeu and Cristiano showing his at Camp Nou. Messi’s hattrick in 2007 against ‘Los Merengues’ or Cristiano doing his ‘stay calm’ celebration in front of almost 100,000 people at Barcelona. Each was the executioner of the other team defenders and will be forever remembered that way.
It is true, Suarez is now the goalscorer of ‘El Clásico’ since 2014 with 9 goals, but the competition and excitement around this epic duel will be forever gone, of course, until a confrontation like this emerges once again. Number 1 and number 2; number 2 and number 1. It doesn’t matter who is considered the best by their respective fans, we witnessed something that defined football history by the two best of this generation. We were lucky and we knew it, we just probably gave too much relevance to the comparison between both and not enjoy them as we should.