Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

Andrew BarrySenior Analyst IMay 6, 2008

This debate will run and run until the winner is announced in December. Cristiano Ronaldo who has sensationally netted 40 goals for Manchester United this term versus Lionel Messi, trickster extraordinaire and Barcelona's young magician.

It's easy to see why both these players are a county mile ahead of their nearest rivals and with current holder Kaka floundering in 4th in Serie A, it's a straight shootout

The argument for Ronaldo is compelling and simple to understand. 40 goals in all competitions from a player who isn't a striker is scintillating. The tricks the Portuguese maestro pulls out of the bag are breathtaking and bamboozle many Premier League defenders.

Many of Ronaldo's critics point at a poor final ball, only six assists all year for a player who's official position is a winger is a poor return. Looking at the players he has to aim at gives him no excuse, Rooney and Tevez are well capable of finishing inside the 18 yard box.

Another argument of Cristiano's is the constant failure to perform in big games. This year both his performances against Arsenal and Chelsea have been poor, a coolly taken penalty against the former doesn't hide a poor all round game.

His displays against Messi's Barcelona ranked among his worst for the club. A missed penalty and constant diving lowered his estimation among neutrals on the stage he was supposed to shine on.

Lionel Messi has had an injury ravaged season yet has plundered 16 goals. Stand out performances include a two goal master class at Parkhead to see off Celtic's challenge.

Even the most die-hard Man Utd fan will admit to the fact Messi gave Evra and Ferdinand a torrid time in both legs. The players around him failed him and sadly Messi will not be in Moscow.

Messi, unlike Ronaldo, does not throw himself to ground and always looks for a team mate unlike his competitor. Messi does not dive.

When the voting comes around in December the voting will be the closest in a long time and Ronaldo also has EURO 2008 to impress but Messi's attitude and displays will give him an equal if not better chance than Ronaldo of lifting the much coveted FIFA World Player of the Year Title.