It was a sad day in La Liga when Cristiano Ronaldo decided to part ways with Real Madrid and it hurt the football fans in so many ways. Apart from the perplexation that Real Madrid’s one of the of the greatest players have bid adieu to the club, there was also a feeling of dejection among fans about the fierce, yet entertaining, rivalry that the Portuguese had enjoyed with Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has come to an abrupt end. Nonetheless, the life goes on.
When Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, he was just a shadow of a player that he eventually turned out to be in mere two seasons at Santiago Bernabeu. Arguably, it was the fierce competition from Barcelona’s then-budding superstar Lionel Messi that drove him to reach new heights in his career.
For 9 long years, both Ronaldo and Messi tried to usurp each other on all fronts on the football pitch and despite them enjoying unimaginable success, there is still very little that separates them. To say the least, both the footballing phenomena have scored over 1,000 goals in past decade, collected 10 Ballon d’Or trophies, 8 UEFA Champions League titles and a host of domestic cups.
It was the desire of pastures new that compelled Cristiano Ronaldo to seal a switch to Juventus in the summer of 2018, but fast forward a month and it has been counter-productive for the forward. Further justifying the theory that Lionel Messi drove him to stay in peak form and consistently deliver sensational performances.
Cristiano Ronaldo has already played three competitive games with Juventus in Serie A but he is yet to find the net. What further adds to the insult is that the 33-year-old had failed to make any significant impact in those games.
On the other hand, Lionel Messi has continued life without Ronaldo in a phenomenal fashion. The Argentine icon has scored four goals in 3 appearances in La Liga so far and he is gifting away his goals to his teammates for free.
When Barcelona faced Huesca on Sunday night, the newly-appointed Barcelona captain was everywhere on the pitch and at the centre of all the entertainment. After pulling a mesmerising first goal, he scored the second one in sublime fashion. Later in the game, when Barcelona was given a penalty, Messi was thrown the ball to take it.
However, the selfless playmaker-cum-attacker gave the ball to Luis Suarez to take the penalty, which he duly converted, and refusing the opportunity to earn himself his 31st La Liga hat-trick. Barcelona smashed 8 goals in the match.
Point is, Lionel Messi has proved time and again that he is a divine football talent who derives inspiration from within. While players like Cristiano Ronaldo need a catalyst to keep the fire burning in them. How true this thesis is, only time will tell but it is for sure that La Liga won’t be the same without them.