Misjudging Book Covers: Messi vs Ronaldo

Fan passions rarely burn hotter than it does for sport, especially European football (soccer) fans.  Just how hot and bothered fans can get is easily evidenced by Youtube comments.  For some reason, people get really crazy and let just about anything fly out of their fingertips on Youtube.  When you’re watching football (soccer) vids as I often do, it always comes back to Los Blancos and Las Blaugranas cussing each other out AKA Real Madrid FC versus FC Barcelona.  The contest between these two particular clubs represents a struggle between two cultural heritages since the foundation of a unified Spain. With that in mind, it is not surprising that the perceived rivalry between the poster boys for both teams flares tempers and strains the boundary of acceptable behaviour.  I’m talking about Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7/The Thoroughbred) versus Lionel Messi (La Pulga/The Flea).

Misjudging Book Covers: Messi vs Ronaldo

Lionel Messi greets Cristiano Ronaldo before a match

All season long, pelota pundits have argued, predicted, calculated and driven up fans’ collective blood pressure.  Huge congratulations to Señor Ronaldo for [fancy_link color=”#221BE0″ link=”http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/922163/real-madrid’s-cristiano-ronaldo-dedicates-pichichi-to-team-mates?cc=5901″]securing his first Pichichi trophy[/fancy_link]and raising the bar for all comers.  Give jack his jacket, that man can play some serious footie.  There are few experiences as thrilling as a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick.  He’s like a sniper with such laser concentration that it gives us fans the chills. When he gets ball possession, you know something is going to happen and it’s usually astounding.  Being La Liga’s top scorer wasn’t easy for him though, as Lionel Messi held the spot for quite a while and seemed poised to break the record.  However, it was Ronaldo who did that and proved that he is worth every penny.  (Hear that, Chelsea FC?)  Messi and Ronaldo have been going almost non-stop from last season, through the 2010 World Cup and straight into this season.  Messi has played in almost every FC Barcelona match but despite his youth, the strains on his body and psyche are immense.  The thing is that many have tried to compare these two maestros but they are like strawberries and mangoes.  They are both gifted genius footballers but very different in their playing styles, ages, stature and public personas.

They came from humble beginnings; overcame major medical conditions in their teenage years, are very close to their families and play for clubs outside of their homelands.  Despite affectations for charitable causes and independent wealth, they are night and day.  Ronaldo certainly inspires massive quantities of gossip fodder by his wardrobe alone.  The Catalan skit-show [fancy_link color=”#221BE0″ link=”http://crackovia.tv3.cat/”]Crackovia[/fancy_link]portrays him as a self-obsessed egomaniac who throws hissy fits and has a fragile self-esteem.  Is this true?  Probably not but the misconception is more entertaining and gives him a certain notoriety which makes the Portuguese star wildly popular.  I doubt that he’s nearly as bad as his critics claim having learned from his bad boy days in the English Premier League.  Cristiano Ronaldo has actually matured and despite an insatiable thirst for victory, is more of a regular guy than the general public may ever see or accept.

Lionel Messi on the other hand has undeniable talent but exudes bashfulness in interviews and keeps his private life very private.  Messi isn’t known for flashy cars, clothes or scandalous love affairs.  However he is known for single-handedly destroying more than one team’s defence and scoring goals while defenders are still looking for the blur that blew past them.  Besides that he’s getting his face slammed into the pitch as soon as he gets ball possession; which is apparently the fastest way to negate his disruptive energy.  Messi is also not inclined to dive as much as his team mates.  Yes, a proud Barça fan admitting that there has been shameless play-acting in recent games.  Don’t faint.  Messi has said that he plays every game as though it were his last.  It is breathtaking to see when Messi charges to the goal with a maddening speed for someone his size.  He really does run like his life is depending on it.  [fancy_link color=”#AAAAAA” link=”http://crackovia.tv3.cat/”]Crackovia[/fancy_link] makes fun of Messi as well.  They acknowledge his skills but hint at some drawbacks.

This whole rivalry pits two very different people against each other.  However, fans make statements that they cannot prove.  Generally, Cristiano Ronaldo is a git and Lionel Messi is a really nice guy.  To prove the old adage about never judging a book by its cover, Messi is not the dimwit or innocent schoolboy that people perceive him to be, consider the incident in the first Clásico at the Bernabeau.  Messi was chasing a ball then kicked it into the crowd.  Getting hit by a flying football is always a possibility when you’re a few feet away from the pitch.  However, there is a clip that we did not see on [fancy_link color=”#221BE0″ link=”http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer”]Fox Soccer Channel[/fancy_link] but was shown on [fancy_link color=”#221BE0″ link=”http://www.intereconomia.com/punto-pelota”]Punto Pelota[/fancy_link].  I don’t know what those Madridistas were yelling at Messi.  They could have been cussing him out or talking about his mamí.  Whatever it was, he intended to chuck that ball at them and enjoyed it.  He then shrugged his shoulders but Pepe saw and called him on it.  All I’m saying is that in this rivalry, Cristiano Ronaldo may be a sweetie-pie and Lionel Messi revealing his darker side.  Fans are losing their composure while fighting for favourite people they don’t really know at all.