In the 2011/12 season we are approximately 35% of the way through the campaign and it is the same two players who stand out on the world stage as usual. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Since Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 he has scored 106 goals in 108 matches, an incredible feat that would appear unbeatable in the modern age. Only Cristiano Ronaldo plays in the same era as Lionel Messi and in the same time frame, since the summer of 2009, has scored 125 goals in 129 matches. These are statistics that defy belief.
The closest player, for example, next to these two, over the course of the past two and a bit seasons would be Wayne Rooney and he has ‘only’ managed 61 goals in 100 matches. Wayne Rooney plays less matches, is less consistent, and is so far behind the front two that it beggars belief because Wayne Rooney is, in his own right, a truly wonderful football player. In any era Wayne Rooney would stick out as a great, with a wonderful first touch, a sharp burst of acceleration, an occasionally clinical finish, splendid vision, impressive skill and a phenomenal work rate. When compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, however, we can just see what phenomenal standards the Argentinian and Portuguese stars have set.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo was selected as the World Player of the Year in 2008 Lionel Messi has won the award in 2009 and 2010 and is apparently all set to win it in 2011 too. This season, 2011/12, which will have a big say on who wins the award in 2012 – alongside the 2012 UEFA European Championships – is proving to be as fierce a competition as ever. Cristiano Ronaldo has 20 goals in 19 matches whereas Lionel Messi has 25 goals in 21 matches. Cristiano Ronaldo has 3 UEFA Champions League goals, Lionel Messi has 6. Cristiano Ronaldod has 16 in La Liga and Lionel Messi has 15. As it stands Lionel Messi has the edge.
What we should consider is what Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, recently said after observing Cristiano Ronaldo’s greater efforts in assisting the team this season. The manager noted that Cristiano Ronaldo is interested in winning more than the Pichichi in the 2011/2012 season. This was a reference to the fact that besides the Copa Del Ray Real Madrid, and Cristiano Ronaldo, won nothing in the previous campaign. Apart from Cristiano Ronaldo winning the Pichichi, a trophy for the top goalscorer in La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo wants more than individual trophies. He wants to win La Liga, what will be a debut league title in Spain, and the Champions League, which he has won previously with Manchester United. It is 4 months into the season and Lionel Messi probably has the slight edge over Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment, on the individual count at least, but El Clasico, when Real Madrid and Barcelona meet, which comes up on the 10th December, will likely determine very much. Real Madrid have a deserved 6 point lead over Barcelona in La Liga and if Cristiano Ronaldo continues to perform at such a high level and his team go on to win some important trophies than it is altogether possible that 2012 will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s year.