Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are widely regarded as two of the greatest footballers of all time, with both iconic athletes sharing 12 Ballon d’Or awards between themselves
Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Portugal’s record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo have been ranked among the 15 most popular athletes of all time soccernet.ng reports.
Together the two footballers have achieved various milestones in the sport, coming to be considered two of the best players of all time.
They are the two most decorated footballers ever, having won a combined 79 major trophies(Messi 44, Ronaldo 35) during their senior career thus far.
Both Messi and Ronaldo are the only two players to score over 800 goals each in their careers for club and country. Ronaldo holds the record for the most official goals in a career.
Messi enjoyed the best moment of his career when he guided his native Argentina to World Cup glory last year after Ronaldo had earlier won the Uefa European Championship with Portugal in 2016.
When FIFA says the GOAT debate is settled 🤯
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 19, 2022
At ages 36 years and 38 respectively, both Messi and Ronaldo are still helping their teams to win trophies. The former Barcelona forward recently led his new club Inter Miami to their first-ever trophy after Ronaldo had earlier won his first trophy for Saudi club Al Nassr a fortnight before.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) September 23, 2019
The two footballers are also popular off the field, commanding a large fanbase and followers on social media. Ronaldo alone accounts for more than 600 million on Instagram.
Despite the accomplishments of these athletes in football and the sheer weight of their names, Messi and Ronaldo have been ranked 7th and 15th most popular athletes of all time by GIVEMESPORTS.
According to the popular sports media outlet, the rankings are based on voting and opinions of sports fans across the globe. And from the list released on the website, the former Argentina captain Messi replicated his feat by guiding the country to World Cup glory last year in Qatar, Diego Maradona, is the most popular athlete of all time.
The late iconic number 10 goal-scoring tally doesn’t come close to Messi and Ronaldo, with just 338 goals in a little more than 600 games, but his skills, dribbling prowess, and ability to alter a game in an instant are what makes him so great. His solo goal after he dribbled past seven players against England in the 1986 World Cup is a prime example.