#YNaijaSportsExtra: At age 33 and 35, Messi and Ronaldo still dominate conversations for World best footballers

It’s been over a decade of dominance for both superstar players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and even in their 30s they are not showing any signs of slowing down.

These two have competed at the highest level and have indisputably been the top two footballers in the world for the last decade, with both athletes taking turns as number 1 or 2.

Their competitive spirit is so fierce that it has made its way past Europe and into the heart of the mother land Nigeria, with football fans all across the country hosting heated debates over who the best among the two is.

This season’s UEFA Champions League tournament may have answered some of those questions, as the two were set to face each other in the group stages, but alas, Ronaldo contracted the coronavirus and had to sit out the first leg of their highly anticipated confrontations.

Messi’s side managed to take away the first victory, but with Ronaldo’s return and a second match slated for next month, we are sure to get that clash of the titans we’ve all being waiting for.

Till then, we just have to make due with appreciating the fact that both Ronaldo and Messi have again being shortlisted for the Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2020 nomination.

The world football governing body announced on Wednesday 25th, that both Messi and Ronaldo have been shortlisted for this prestigious honor, alongside; Thiago Alcântara, Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mané, Kylian Mbappé, Sergio Ramos, Mohamed Salah, and Virgil van Dijk .

Both Messi and Ronaldo have been recipient of this award in its young existence dating only as far back as 2016. Ronaldo won it back in 2016 and 2017, while Messi took it home in 2019. In four years they’ve had a grand total of seven nominations, with Ronaldo having 4 nomination every year since the award began and 2 wins, and Messi having 3 nominations and 1 win.

It is also important to note that FIFA merged with the prestigious French football awards Ballon d’or, and from 2010 to 2016, the FIFA Ballon d’or as it was then called stood in place of the Best FIFA Men’s Player award and Ballon D’or.

In that time, Messi bagged 6 nominations in all six years and took home 4 awards, while Ronaldo bagged five nominations and won the award twice. This puts Messi at 9 FIFA nominations and 5 wins and puts Ronaldo at 9 nominations and 4 wins, since 2010.

As for the Ballon d’ or as an independent award, Ronald has 7 nominations and 3 wins, and Messi has 6 nominations and 2 wins. Combining all their wins since 2007, Messi has 12 nominations and 6 wins while Ronaldo has 11 nominations and 5 wins.

So, in retrospect going by Best FIFA Men’s Player and Ballon D’or, both Messi and Ronaldo have been considered the best player in the world 11 times in the last 13 years. In the past 13 years since they became superstars only two other players have won either the Best FIFA Men’s Player and Ballon D’or asides them.

For both athletes, it has been a phenomenal run, and illustrious careers, as they both have dominated the sports, playing in a league of their own, while everyone else played catchup.

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