The Ballon d’Or score moved to Ronaldo 3 Messi 4 on Monday night in Zurich and the good news for football is that with so much playing time potentially still ahead of them the greatest head-to-head in the game’s history might still have years to play out.
‘Don’t bet against it being 5-4 to Ronaldo in a couple of years,’ was the sentiment of one Madrid commentator in this morning’s celebration of their man winning the Ballon d’Or 2014 and it’s easy to see why even non-Madrid supporters might agree that Ronaldo now has everything in his favour to glide past Messi by winning World Player of the year two more times.
But to doubt Messi’s ability to bounce back in this two man tug of war for world supremacy is to massively underestimate someone who is still only 27 – in any normal career he would now be entering his prime.
Barcelona may be in turmoil with elections called 12-months early for the end of the year, a change of coach on the horizon, and a transfer ban to be suffered until 2016 but there were signs of life in their weekend win over Atletico Madrid.
The enduring image from the game of Messi celebrating the third goal arm in arm with Neymar and Luis Suarez is another clue as to why it might not be all downhill from here for the Argentine. He rose to prominence in that wonderful triangle of mesmerizing movement and short passes made up of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
The Messi, Suarez, Neymar holy trinity is very different one compromised of attackers not midfielders but it inspires awe all the same. He can’t complain that he is not in the right company as he attempts to get back on top in Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo on his Facebook page said “No day off. Even if you’ve earned one #JustDoIt“