El Clásico 2012 started as a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
It ended as a shootout between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The La Liga clubs’ seventh contest of the 2012-13 campaign concluded in a 2-2 draw, but the story of the game wasn’t its outcome. It was the show put on by Messi and Ronaldo.
The two best footballers on the planet lived up to their reputations without fail on Sunday. They walked off the field with two goals apiece, having accounted for every single score.
Pre-match talk was all about Messi vs. Ronaldo and after their performances, that hasn’t changed. If anything, their displays of dominance only poured more gasoline on the fire that is the argument that never ends of, “Who’s the best football player alive?”
It sure didn’t look like an easy question to answer in their teams’ first meeting of the season.
Prior to the contest, Messi and Ronaldo each had scored six goals in La Liga action this year. While they’re still tied, now at eight apiece, Messi has three assists to Ronaldo’s zero. And up to this point in the season, WhoScored.com rates Messi as the best player in the league without question, while Ronaldo is ranked fourth.
On top of that, Messi carried Barcelona to the top of the table at 6-1-0 compared to Real Madrid in fifth place at 3-2-2. Of course, club records speak more for the club’s ability than the individual players themselves. And those individual numbers simply tell who’s had the best seven-match start to 2012.
But still, every product of their play must be taken into consideration in the great debate.
Will there ever be a widely accepted answer to, “Messi or Ronaldo?”
Not likely. Especially if the two legends continue to trade blows like they did on Sunday.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.