World Cup 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi rivalry heats up

It is the question that has divided football fans for over a decade. Who has the edge -- Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel ...

Posted: May 31, 2018 11:59 AM
Updated: May 31, 2018 11:59 AM

It is the question that has divided football fans for over a decade. Who has the edge -- Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

Between the two of them, Ronaldo and Messi have scored over a thousand goals, won the Ballon d'Or 10 times and have reshaped modern football.

With less than two weeks to go before the World Cup begins, the eternal rivalry has turned up a notch, captivating a legion of fans across the world on what is next.

For Ronaldo, it may be sooner than we think.

After Real Madrid's Champion's League win against Liverpool, the 33-year-old planted the seeds of doubt that it may be his last with the team.

The news comes after Messi hinted at a move back to his home country of Argentina after his Barcelona contract expires in 2021.

"We've been there before, one way of looking at it is a tactic," journalist and author Jimmy Burns told CNN Sport regarding Real's Portuguese international recent outburst. "Ronaldo is negotiating Real Madrid and is negotiating hard.

"There is no reason why he would want to leave, the fact is he has just won a fifth Champions League."

READ: Real Madrid win European Cup for 13th time

'Showman status'

For the 30-year-old Messi, Burns explains that his decision to move may allude to the shadow of Diego Maradona looming over him, having never brought a World Cup trophy home since his predecessor in 1986.

"There is no doubt that Messi needs to win the World Cup, many say he needs to do so to cement his place in history as the best player," Burns continued.

"Until he wins that cup -- for his own countrymen at least -- he won't quite be up there with Maradona," added Burns, who has written extensively about Maradona and also Barcelona.

Although Portugal is yet to bring home a World Cup, its team did win the European Championship in 2016, with Ronaldo playing a key role even if he was injured during the final.

Known for his youthful physique, good looks and star power on social media, international brands are quick to snag Ronaldo for brand endorsement.

"Ronaldo is good looking and works hard on his physique," said Burns. "His body looks better today than he did in his teenage years.

"All that matters to Messi is the football," added Burns, who says that the Argentine prioritizes football over his marketability and is a naturally reserved character who prefers a toned down lifestyle.

"His life in Barcelona is just the same as it was many years ago. He still loves eating meat and pastries at his favorite restaurant and still keeps a closely knit circle of friends, who are mostly Argentine or Uruguayan."

READ: Ronaldo's 'Playstation goal' is talk of the world

Previous generation's rivalries

While the pair are locked in this generation's rivalry, their feats offer an interesting counterpoint to other great footballers' achievements.

"Ronaldo and Messi are playing in a modern era of football which is as competitive as it is pressurized," said Burns.

"Players at that elite level are under immense pressure on and off the pitch with media attention, sponsorship and image rights. They are surrounded by lawyers, advisers and have a legion of fans across the world through social media.

"All of which wasn't around at the time of Maradona or Pel- --- they could just get on with the game.

"Their achievements and their brilliance have to be measured on the pitch and despite that huge pressure they continue to be incredibly fit for their age."

As for who is the better player ... Burns remains coy.

"You have got to judge them for their unrivaled performance over the last 10 years.

"Whichever statistics you look at, no footballer has reached the pinnacles they have reached."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather