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For more than a decade, the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry has changed the landscape of football as we know it.
Two of the most talented and hard-working individuals have pushed boundaries, broken records and performed on the grandest of stages. For every goal Ronaldo scores, Messi hits back. For every record Ronaldo breaks, Messi goes one further.
It has been a battle of the best for so long now, so who comes out on top?
It's a never-ending debate that will be talked about for years, although Sunday's coverage of the Super Bowl controversially opted for Messi ahead of Ronaldo in the GOAT stakes; a decision that brought plenty of discussion on social media.
Lionel Messi made it to the Superbowl. This image off Movistar and made by NFL. pic.twitter.com/NMMvF90G7y
- Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 8, 2021
In the early stages of last weekend's Super Bowl final between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, an image by Movistar highlighted 'The Goats' in sport.
Buccaneers star Tom Brady, who now has seven Super Bowl wins to his name after Sunday's win, featured in the graphic while NBA great Michael Jordan and NHL legend Wayne Gretzky line-up alongside Barca forward Lionel Messi.
The right call? Well, some Ronaldo fans certainly didn't think so.
Cristiano has 5 Champions Leagues but they still chose Leo lol, I smell agenda https://t.co/B1qRf85Fod
- oli:flag_pt: (@WrecklessWhyte) February 8, 2021
Cristiano Wins 5 UCL TITLES ones with Real Madrid includes Greatest football Dynastie in Modern Era 4 TITLES in 5. https://t.co/Y5SKuSRyZV
- Soufiane Loubnan :m:#:three: :four: :flag_ma: (@SFNloubnan) February 8, 2021
Lionel Messi made it to the Superbowl, even NFL knows. pic.twitter.com/dnH0HZJ1wn
- Heisjustin (@Uzomajustin2) February 8, 2021
Ronaldo has never been one to hide when expressing his admiration for Messi. In an interview with Portuguese channel TV, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner even suggested they could become friends in the future.
"I really admire the career he has had so far, and, for his part, he has already said that he had trouble when I left the Spanish league because it is a rivalry that he appreciates." Ronaldo said.
"It is a good rivalry that exists in football, but this is no exception. Michael Jordan had rivals in basketball, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were great rivals in Formula One.
"The only common point between all the big rivalries in the sport is that they are healthy."
Messi, meanwhile, also admitted in the past that the legendary rivalry was 'special' and 'fun' when they were both playing in Spain.
Speaking to DAZN per Goal, the Argentine admitted: "It was a special duel and it will remain forever because it lasted many years and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time.
"Plus the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barcelona were the two best teams in the world."
"Competing on an equal footing for so many years, I think it will remain forever.
"The sporting duel between us was very nice on a personal level and I think people had fun too, whether it was from Madrid or from Barca, or even only football fans in general."
One thing is for sure; we will never see a rivarly quite like the one Ronaldo and Messi shared in our lifetime.
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