Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: El Clasico Doesn't Solve Massive Debate

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Lionel Messi (R) of Barcelona celebrates scoring besides his teammate Jordi Alba during the la Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium on October 7, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Everyone has a favorite in the Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo debate, and Sunday's El Clasico contest isn't going to help anyone reach a rightful conclusion.

Both iconic attackers notched a brace, putting their goal scoring skills on amazing, and equal, display.

Check out the game's goals:

Ronaldo's first goal (0:11 mark in video) is a solid strike to give Real Madrid the lead, and it definitely holds an advantage over Messi's first goal that you'll see shortly after.

However, Messi's free kick (0:22 mark in video) to give Barcelona the 2-1 lead in the 60th minute was exceptional. He bent the ball into the top left corner, putting his dynamic scoring ability out in the open with one poetic strike.

Ronaldo finished a beautiful through ball just a few minutes later, but Messi's double-clinching goal was the match's best play. It was also his 17th goal in his El Clasico career.

With Messi, you're looking at someone with 287 career goals. That's in all competitions, but does it really matter? He's an all-time talent, capable of impacting the game even without finding the back of the net.

Ronaldo has 309 career goals, but he's also had over 100-plus more games to make it happen. That's not taking away from his ability, but it has to be considered in the argument.

If I were to take one player, Messi's the guy. But everyone has a preference, and you obviously can't go wrong.

Ronaldo's flashy persona oozes superstar. Messi is quiet. 

Ronaldo is a the quintessential goal scorer, while Messi seems to set up his teammates with equal precision as he does help himself.

Both players bring excessive amounts of skill to the table, and they rarely disappoint. On any given night, either player can hang a hat trick on you without blinking an eye.

There are only a handful of talents like that in the world, and these two are the very best.

Sunday's El Clasico gave fans a chance to see two players do what they do best, but it didn't bring anyone any closer to ending the debate over who is better.

There probably never will be an answer. It's an impossible question to dissect, because each player is just that good. If 1A and 1B were ever possible, it's now. 

If you're looking for a flashy, stunning goal scorer, you take Ronaldo. If you're looking for an all-around playmaker, and a true artist, take Messi.