Sport's Three Biggest Current Rivalries
There are so many rivalries in the sports world today in every sport. However some rivalries are bigger than others.
By big I mean that these rivalries are not one-sided. Sometimes one player gets the upper hand as the better player, and sometimes it goes the other way. Sometimes, one players team is the better team, making fans automatically assume that the player with the better team is the better player.
Three rivalries stand out to me, and these rivalries will be discussed in this article.
Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
As I said in a previous article, I don't know much about tennis. But I do know two great tennis players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
They are easily the two greatest tennis players on the planet right now.
But which is better?
Personally, I like Nadal, and his style of play.
Rafael Nadal has won five Grand Slams and one Olympic gold medal. Roger Federer has won 15 Grand Slam titles, which is the record for the most all-time.
However, Nadal leads the head-to-head series between the two players. On clay courts, Nadal leads the series 9-2, while on hard courts they are ties 3-3. On grass courts Federer leads 2-1.
In my opinion, only time can tell which of the two is greater. Sure, Federer has won the most Grand Slam titles of any player in history, but Nadal is better than Federer head to head.
Verdict: Tie; only time can tell which is better
Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James
Kobe and LeBron are the two most dominant basketball players, currently. It seems like every other game they score 30 (or more) points.
Let's start with Kobe. The Black Mamba is one of the most graceful players on the court. He has great fade-away shots and he can always drain a three when his team needs it the most.
Bryant holds the record for the youngest player to score 23,000 points in his career, plus a host of other youngest player records.
He's already being hailed as one of the greatest basketball players ever, and most would include him in their top 10 list for the best basketball players ever.
LeBron also holds many youngest player records. Currently, he is the youngest player to reach 1,000 points, 2000 points, 3,000 points, and all the way up to 12,000 points. "The King" also holds many more youngest player records.
LeBron would probably be the better all-around player. While Kobe did enjoy a few years as a great defensive and offensive player, he has since become a player much more used to orchestrating the offense on the team.
LeBron however can score as many points as Kobe in a game and still record many more blocks and steals. LeBron is also a better rebounder.
On offense, Bryant holds a slight edge over James, although the edge is VERY slight.
Verdict: Right now it's LeBron, but we'll have to wait for his career to progress to see which is really better over the course of their careers.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi vs. Kaka
Although recently the rivalry has consisted of Ronaldo vs. Messi, the true battle for best footballer in the world has been contested among the three players, Kaka, C. Ronaldo, and Messi.
In 2007, Kaka won the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Ronaldo won the award in 2008. Both years Lionel Messi finished runner-up.
The three players have different and unique playing styles. Let's start with Kaka.
Unlike the other two players, Kaka plays up the middle as an attacking midfielder. Kaka's playing style consists of defense-splitting runs through the middle and many crosses into the box which make finishing very easy for the strikers. Kaka can also obtain a good share of goals himself.
Cristiano Ronaldo can play on both wings, although last season he did sometimes play as a lone striker. As many already know, Ronaldo uses many fancy tricks to get around his opponents.
Sometimes Ronaldo dribbles down the wing to deliver a cross, but many times he can cut in and shoot himself. Among the three, Ronaldo is the best all-round player. Ronaldo is better at headers and is an expert at set pieces.
Lionel Messi is the youngest of the three players, and probably the best dribbler. Messi can dribble past his opponents with so much ease that all marvel at his dribbling abilities. His twists and turns around opponents bring joy to spectators. Messi is a great goalscorer and an outstanding passer, too.
This debate is going to be around for many years to come. Ronaldo is an arrogant player but that doesn't mean that he is bad.
Verdict: 1. Cristiano Ronaldo—Ronaldo is more of an all-round player; he can dribble, he's got speed, he's great at headers, and he's an expert at free kick. 2. Lionel Messi—this one was a hard choice. Although both are great at dribbling, Messi is better and he can score and assist more.
3. Kaka—He had his year in 2007; but now his successors have got him beat.