Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: Who'll Rule in La Liga Next Season

Craig Davies@@cjdavies5Contributor IIIJuly 11, 2012

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 21:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF shake hands prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on April 21, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Real Madrid CF won 1-2.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo form one the greatest rivalries and sub-plots in world football today.

The enigma's of their respective sides, scorers of simply obscene goals and record breakers to boot.

Since Ronaldo swapped Manchester for Madrid in 2009 the footballing world have been obsessed with comparing the two.

It's human nature.

Who is the best goal scorer? Who should win the next Ballon d'or? And so on and so forth.

The Portuguese hit-man secured his first La Liga title last term, with Jose Mourinho stealing the edge on his old employers who have welcomed Tito Vilanova into the managerial helm after Pep Guardiola stepped aside.

Of the two biggest sides in football today though, who will steal the show in La Liga next season?



Let's start by establishing the story of the last three seasons, which culminated in the Barcelona Monopoly being broken as their bitter rivals became the first team to ever break the 100-point barrier.

The Argentine so far winning the La Liga title battle 2-1 though.

In terms of goals and assists it is also Messi that comes out on top, outscoring Ronaldo 115-112 since the 2009/10 season and assisting 43 goals compared to 29.

Last season alone the pair both broke the all time La Liga scoring record, a phenomenal achievement in itself.

But it was again the Barcelona man who outscored his Real Madrid counterpart 50 to 46, securing the Pichichi Trophy, and got more assists with 15 against 12, in one game less.



Many attributes between the pair are remarkably similar, but there are of course some crucial differences.

Ronaldo is undoubtedly the more physical player and has more strength and tricks, but while Messi concedes fewer tricks his tremendous ball control is cut above anyone worldwide.

In addition he is far more robust under the challenge, has a better temperament and is a much better team player.

Ronaldo is the machine and Messi is the magician, essential cogs from which their sides revolve.

Crucially though. it is the Argentine that exerts more influence, in more games for longer, and herein lies the decision.