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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are 'All-In' for El Clasico at Camp Nou

Welcome back to the Punditry Pit. In our second edition Speaker Blue and Speaker Red debate which of the two goal scoring sensations is more likely to leave a lasting impression on the El Clasico in Barcelona.

David Ramos/Getty Images


his is The Punditry Pit where two anonymous speakers, identified only by color, will represent their views on the topic matter at hand.

Your presence is critical, for we randomly select members in attendance to assume one of the two speaking positions for the next session of The Punditry Pit. Simply known as "Speaker Blue" or "Speaker Red" you will be able to speak freely on your views and share it, without prejudice, among your fellow cules.

"Who do you feel will be more decisive in the upcoming El Clasico in Barcelona, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?"


I was elated with joy when Cruyff's Dream Team thumped Real Madrid 5-0 at the hands of Romario and company in the early 90's. Only to witness dark times in the simultaneous decline of the club and the re-emergence of Los Blancos as they won the Champions League three times in a 5 year period between '97-'02. Football and physics share a common ground.

Sir Isaac Newton said it best:

"What goes up, must come down".

Just as Cristiano Ronaldo stormed out the gate early on in the season Messi managed to surpass his rival, with his own run of electrifying form, when no one thought it would be possible. I can't help and wonder - will the tables turn again? El Clasico at Camp Nou is the perfect venue for Ronaldo to showcase why he's been crowned back to back Ballon d'Or winner. The Portuguese international is acutely aware of Barcelona's maestro having overtaken him in the race for the Pichichi and quite possibly the Ballon d'Or as well. Two individual accolades that CR7 covets most. The former Manchester United dazzler won't give up without a fight.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is awarded the '14 Ballon d'Or

Ronaldo admitted as much himself:

"This is an unforgettable moment, but I'm not going to stop here. I want to catch Messi. I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions and I want to win it again. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time."

Ronaldo remains the only player to have successfully dethroned Messi as the "World's Best Footballer". His work ethic is admirable and competitive nature is there for all to see. Initially, I thought playing at home would play to Messi's advantage until I remembered how comfortable Cristiano Ronaldo is under the taunts of the crowd. His role in Wayne Rooney's sending off at the '06 World Cup would see him return to the English Premier League under a chorus of boos anywhere outside of Old Trafford and yet he still managed to nearly double his previous best goal tally ًfrom 12 to 23. Remarkable.

'06 - Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United

Ronaldo displays resilience in the face of adversity and is permitted the occasional blip. Messi isn't afforded that luxury. Messi is constantly expected to perform according to the bar he himself has set and has shown signs of mental distress from the weight of the incessant demands. Most notably during penalty duties and even as far back as breaking Telmo Zarra's La Liga goal scoring record at the Bernabeu. Ronaldo's pressure is to catch Messi and cement his legacy alongside him whereas Leo feels pressure to please the fans of Barcelona.

Madrid have done their job at the Bernabeu beating Barcelona 3-1 with Cristiano on the scoresheet. Camp Nou will be a pressure cooker with all eyes on Messi to return the favour. With only one point separating the two sides - I'm not sure how well our talisman will cope under the hankering eyes of the Barcelona fans. I'm undecided how this match will end but I have an inclination that Sir Isaac Newton's words may ring true with respects to the Leo vs CR7 head to head match up.

I hope I'm wrong.

No one else in the football world has been as relentless as the Madrid attacker in competing with Messi. For me, I can see Cristiano exposing the weaker elements of our team. Breaking on the counter, getting in the air on a set piece or doing what he does best - finishing a penalty. The La Decima winner is ultra competitive when the chips are down.


In case anyone has forgotten who and what La Pulga is let me remind you...

Only player in history to be named World's Best four times in succession

Messi isn't a good player, a great player or a world class player. He's the ultimate footballer that has defined an era. We're talking about a man who is compared to the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona. A player whose own intuition is a reflection of what the beautiful game is about.

The El Clasico King vs Real Madrid

• Hat Trick at just 19 years of age

• Spellbinding goal in the Semi Finals of the '11 Champions League

• World Record holder w/ 21 strikes passing the likes of Alfred Di Stefano paints a perfect picture of FC Barcelona's pride and joy.

The Introduction of Lionel Messi to Football

Look that over once more. Let it sink in. I'll wait.

Want to speak about motivation or being a fierce competitor? Let's do that. Anytime the Barca graduate has come under criticism he's always responded. Critics in his hometown of Rosario felt he wouldn't be able to handle the rigorous physical challenges in football. Now, he is consistently among the most fouled players in Europe while maintaining his reputation of a player who "never dives". Hint hint. Some questioned his performances for the national team and doubted the strength of his loyalty to his homeland. He rejected the opportunity to join the Spanish National side as a youngster and would go on win the Olympic Gold as a youth and lead Argentina to a World Cup final drawing praise from the most unlikely of sources.

Former Madrid manager Jose Mourinho told Yahoo Sports:
"I saw [Messi] playing in areas of the pitch he doesn't usually play. He dropped deep and picked up the ball a long way from the opposition's goal. He sacrificed himself for the good of the team." The Chelsea manager continued, "he was more focused on winning the tournament than being its best player. If he wanted to show just how good he is he'd have played tucked in behind Higuain, waiting for that moment to change the game." The Portuguese added, "Messi has my utmost respect for what he did at the World Cup".
No right foot? 15 goals this season says otherwise. Bad in the air? Ask Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United what happened at the '09 Champions League Final in Rome. Talk of decline after 13/14 season? Leading the Pichichi race and contributing 21 assists while Barcelona compete in three different competitions.

In all honesty - don't you think the Barca #10 will do everything in his power to rectify his "un-Messi-like" performance from their earlier clash at the Santiago Bernabeu? Keep in mind, Messi doesn't need goals to dominate or decide a match. Look back at the 5-0 demolition job against Madrid in 2010 where he orchestrated the win without ever hitting the back of the net.

Surely Ronaldo will be up for El Clasico but Messi will be at the heart of everything that is good for Barcelona until the final whistle blows. Don't bet against him. Ronaldo was ahead by as much as 12 goals in the race for the Pichichi. Messi closed it. Twice, the Catalans trailed Real Madrid by a 4-point margin. Barca closed it.

Sir Isaac Newton never knew Messi.

- Elzi

(Happy to be followed by my favorite footy commentator @RayHudson - Maaggisterialll!)

Have your say on our poll and share your thoughts on the comment section below. In doing so, you could very well be selected for the next edition of The Punditry Pit.

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