At the age of 25 years old, Barcelona's Leo Messi has won a record four Ballon d'Or awards, and within the same season broke Legendary Footballer Gerd Muller's record of scoring 85 goals in a calendar year, by scoring 91 goals in total. He is seen in football hierarchy as the best footballer in the world, if not the best ever.
He is rivalled in modern football only by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who ironically plays for arch rivals Real Madrid. The debate divides opinion among professionals of the game and supporters alike. Some would argue that Messi has only become as successful as he has done because of the team he plays for, due to the style of Barcelona's play and the type of players providing him with the assists for many of his goals, and along with the fact that many football fans see La Liga as an inferior football league to other elite leagues in Europe.
Others would also make the point that Ronaldo is the more proven footballer of the two, considering the fact that he has accomplished success in the English Premier League as well as continuing to succeed in Spain's La Liga.
The two are very similar in their style of play however, with the only major difference being height. Both are accomplished dribblers, world class finishers and both play as wingers, although Messi has been played in a more "strikers style" role in recent years. Ronaldo would seem to have the advantage in the air with headers, yet Messi tends to use his short stature and low centre of gravity to the best of his abilty.
The debate may never end but it seems for the moment Messi has the edge over his Portuguese counter-part.