If ever there was a goal-for-goal challenge and response of two of the world’s best soccer players, it happened last night at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. And disappointingly, neither could pull off the win to settle the debate about who’s really better (at least, for now).
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona were the only goal scorers in a 2-2 tie. Both players run the last attacking line for two of the top teams—holding one of the biggest rivalries—in the world. And both have completely different styles of play that resulted in a dramatic scoreboard back-and-forth.
Messi, from Argentina, is one of the tiniest players in the league at just 5’ 7’’ and 148 lbs. But he’s lightning quick and plays with patience, weaving around defenders with ease until the perfect hole opens up for a shot on goal. Ronaldo, from Portugal, (standing at a much bigger 6′ 1”, 165 lbs) is perhaps most famous for his pouting facial expressions when things don’t go his way. But attitude aside, he plays with sharp urgency that can put Madrid back on the scoreboard before the opposition’s defense knows what attack blew through their line.
And that’s exactly what happened last night, in La Liga’s (the Spanish league) seventh game. From just outside the box, Messi curved a perfect free kick over the defensive wall into the upper right corner of the net, just past the fingers of Casillas, putting Barca up 2-1 in the second half. Minutes later, after a through ball from Madrid’s Mesut Ozil, Ronaldo slammed in a low shot past Barca’s keeper Valdes.
In the final minutes, Barcelona’s offense pounded Casillas with shots on goal, desperately trying to one-up Madrid, and with a heartbreakingly close shot off the crossbar, almost thought they’d secured the win. After over 90 minutes of play, neither Messi nor Ronaldo got the upper hand. Because of home field advantage, Barcelona took the match points keeping it at the top of the league, but the unsettled personal battle between the two left the world’s soccer fans frustrated over who is top dog.
Let the debate continue.