Ronaldo has the opportunity to leave Messi in the shade

Fri Jul 8, 2016 12:24pm EDT
 
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By Toby Davis

PARIS (Reuters) - For so much of Cristiano Ronaldo's majestic career, he has battled with Lionel Messi, often unsuccessfully, to be considered the greatest player in the world.

If history ultimately judges the finest talents by their achievements on the international stage, where neither player has tasted success, then the Portuguese captain could use Sunday's Euro 2016 final to land a haymaker blow in one of football's great rivalries.

Ronaldo has overcome rumblings of discontent at the tournament, with his form and attitude subjected to microscopic analysis, to lead his side into a showpiece finale where they will face hosts France in Paris.

Should he end the occasion holding aloft the trophy, it would not only crown a remarkable career, it would perhaps settle once and for all a debate that has divided fans across the world.

Ronaldo and Messi have been jostling for the World Player of the Year title for years, often with little to separate them in the scoring charts or in their burgeoning trophy cabinets.

They have hoovered up eight Ballon D'Or titles between them (Messi five, Ronaldo three) and been the cause of innumerable arguments among fans and pundits who have picked over their various merits.

Yet neither has led their country to glory in a continental or World Cup tournament.

A rivalry that stretches back a decade and includes two of the world's biggest clubs in Ronaldo's Real Madrid and Messi's Barcelona, could be about to witness a defining moment.   Continued...

 
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Portugal Training - Centre National de Rugby, Marcoussis, France - 7/7/16 - Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during training. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau