With Real Madrid sitting in first place and 4 points clear of Barcelona, you could say that this Sunday’s upcoming El Clasico is critical for both teams. But let’s be honest, this is a game of two players. Two of the best players that might ever walk this earth. Two players who are both in insane form. But two players who couldn’t be more different if they tried.
First we have Cristiano Ronaldo. The recently crowned Balon D’Or winner and the leading scorer in La Liga has qualities never seen before in World Football. If one were to create a player in FIFA with a 99% in all categories, you’d virtually be creating Ronaldo. His 6’1 frame and incredible leaping ability make him an unstoppable aerial threat. His speed with the ball at his feet is incredibly impressive as is his speed without the ball. Ronaldo can score off the dribble with a series of fancy feet, or with one of his signature long distance strikes. The type of player that can get behind you with pure speed, can score goals from well over 30 yards out (with both feet), and can score off of a set piece both with his feet and in the air. Ronaldo might be the most versatile footballer to ever play the game.
Then there is Lionel Messi. The 4 time Balon D’Or winner and Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer with 371 goals (at the advanced age of 26). This 5’7 (and that’s being generous) spark plug with explosive quickness can break down any team off of the dribble. What really makes Messi so dangerous is his ability to not be dispossessed. Teams send 3, 4, 5 defenders to stop him, but he gracefully skates by them with ease.
While Ronaldo is known for his array of dazzling step-overs and tricks, Messi is a much simpler player that utilizes basic cuts and chops.
In addition, Ronaldo is one of the most emotional and charismatic players in Football, once even going as far as to push former Barca manager Pep Guardiola during a heated Clasico match. Messi shows very little emotion, even when players viciously hack and slide to take the ball from him.
We can argue who is the better player until the cows come home, but we cannot argue that we are witnessing history. So come Sunday, get your popcorn ready.
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With less than 100 days away (and counting), the excitement of the World Cup is starting to come to fruition. Questions arise in the minds of the millions of Football fans worldwide who anxiously await for the games to begin. How will Spain’s Tiki Taka style of play (led by Barca midfielders Xavi and Iniesta) fair against organized and athletic sides like Germany and England? Or will the Seleção and young Barcelona star Neymar bring the Cup back to Brazil for the first time since 2002.
It is difficult to say who will end up taking home the grandest prize in World Football, but odds makers have coined the Brazilians as favourites with 3 to 1 odds for winning it all. This would be the first time in nearly 16 years that a host country would be crowned champions of the World Cup. The last to do so was an immensely talented French side in 1998, led by central midfielder, Zinedine Zidane. In addition, Las Vegas has given Argentina and 4 time Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi 9/2 odds, making them second favourites at obtaining the Cup.
The odds do not favour The United States though, who have much to prove with odds makers giving them a measly 100/1 chance in winning the World Cup. So what can we as fans take away from all of this? Should we just hand the trophy to Brazil, Spain, or Argentina? No. This is the one event in all of sports where the world holds its breath and consistently witnesses the David’s take down the Goliath’s. We have seen countries like South Korea take down Spain and Italy in the 2002 World Cup. In addition, we saw Australia beat Serbia (who were contenders to win it all), as well as Slovakia take down Italy (who also were favoured to make a strong run in the tournament). So in the end, we truly cannot say which country will end up hoisting the 2014 World Cup, but what we do know, is that come Thursday, June 12, the world will be watching.
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