The epic La Liga rivalry has seethed on for almost 10 years, but with the Portuguese having left for Turin on a four-year deal worth £500,000 a week, the fight to be the best player in La Liga between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is finally over.
The well-established debate of which of these two players is better was something that could be decided to a limited extent by taking a look at the goal-scoring stats in La Liga in a given season, or seeing which one shone in an ‘El Clasico‘ fixture between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
While that was possible for the majority of the last decade, the Portuguese forward decision to leave Spanish capital to bring an end to an era of football rivalry in La Liga.
The epic rivalry has now and again turned out to be heated, with the two players reportingly referring to the other by offending epithets to close associates and attempting to out-do each other in advertising and social media campaigns as they vied for the best spot in La Liga.
CR7 did not get off to an easy start in La Liga in the 2009-10 season, as Barcelona and Messi dominated the League and left the Ronaldo without a trophy in his first season with Los Blancos.
However, as time went on the two players dominated La Liga in one good turn deserves another style, as appeared by their 10-years dominance of the Ballon d’Or in the course of the last decade with the Argentine winning four successive awards from 2009-12 while Ronaldo has won the last 2 consecutively.
The two players have had mind-blowing goal-scoring records in the Spanish league, such as could be seen amid the 2011-12 campaign when both of them scored a combined 96 goals in the League.
That is perhaps the most disheartening thing to leave this transfer adventure as a neutral. Not exclusively were the two players epic rivals in La Liga, but they made each other better.
In the 2011-12 season, Ronaldo scored 46 goals while Messi netted 50. After three years Messi packed away a stunning 43 goals in La Liga, so Ronaldo went and scored 48.
MESSI LA LIGA RECORDS
- Most free kicks scored in La Liga: 24 free kick goals
- First La Liga player to score 25+ goals in 10 consecutive seasons across all competitions
- Only player in La Liga history to score 15+ goals in 10 seasons (did it consecutively) (2008/09 – 2017/18)
- Only player in La Liga history to score 10+ goals in 12 seasons (did it consecutively) (2006/07 – 2017/18)
- First player in La Liga history to have scored at least 2 goals in 100 matches
- Most goals scored in La Liga El Clásico matches: 18 goals
- Most goals scored in El Clásico matches: 26 goals
- Only player in La Liga history to score 20+ goals in 8 consecutive seasons (did it consecutively) (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Only player in La Liga history to score 20+ goals in 9 consecutive seasons (2008/09 – 2016/17)
- Only player in La Liga history to score 20+ goals in 10 consecutive seasons (2008/09 – 2017/18)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in five consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in seven consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in eight consecutive La Liga seasons (2009/10 – 2016/17) (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Only player to score 40+ goals in two consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Only player in La Liga history to score 2+ hat-tricks in 7 consecutive seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Most trophies won in Spanish football: 30 trophies (shared with Iniesta)
- Only player to score in 6 Spanish Super Cup editions: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016
- Only player to score in 4 consecutive Spanish Super Cup editions: 2009-2012
- Most goals in Spanish Super Cup Games: 17 goals
- Most away goals scored in La Liga history
- Leading goalscorer over a season in home games: 46 goals (in 2011/12)
- Leading goalscorer over a season in home league games: 35 goals (in 2011/12)
- Leading goalscorer over a season in away league games: 24 goals (in 2012/13)
- Leading goalscorer in the second half of a league season: 28 goals (in 2011/12)
- Most opponents scored against in a single season: 19 (2012/13) (Shared with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo)
- Most goals scored in La Liga in a season: 50 goals in 2011/12
- Most goals scored in La Liga in a calendar year: 59 goals in 2012
- Most La Liga hat-tricks in a season: 8 hat-tricks (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Most league matches scored in a single season: 27 games (2012/13) (Shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Most home league matches scored in a single season: 16 games (in 2011/12)
- Most away league matches scored in a single season: 15 games (in 2012/13)
- Youngest player to score 200 La Liga goals: 25 years
- Most consecutive La Liga matches scored in 21 matches, 33 goals(2012/13)
- Most consecutive away league matches scored in 13 matches, 20 goals(2012/13)
- Most hat-tricks in El Clásico matches: 2 hat-tricks
- Most assists in La Liga: 149 assists
- All time highest goalscorer in La Liga: 383 goals
- Youngest player to reach 250 league goals
- The first player to score 40+ goals in 3 La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Best goalscoring ratio in a La Liga season (at least 20 games played): 1.44 (46 goals in 32 games in 2012/13)
RONALDO LA LIGA RECORDS
- Most penalties scored in La Liga history: 61 penalties
- Most penalties missed in La Liga history: 11 penalties
- The first player to score 25+ goals in five consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in seven consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- The first player to score 25+ goals in eight consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- Only player in La Liga history to score 20+ goals in 8 consecutive seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- Only player to score 40+ goals in two consecutive La Liga seasons (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)
- The first player to score 30+ goals in five consecutive La Liga seasons
- The first player to score 30+ goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons (2010/11 – 2015/16)
- Most hat-tricks in Spanish football: 37 hat-tricks
- Only player in La Liga history to score 2+ hat-tricks in 7 consecutive seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- The first player to score against every team in La Liga in a single season
- The first player ever to score in six consecutive Clásicos
- The first player to score 20 away goals in a single season in La Liga
- Most league matches scored in a single season: 27 games (2011/12) (Shared with Lionel Messi)
- Most goals scored in three consecutive La Liga matches: 9 goals(shared with László Kubala, Mundo, and Campana)
- Most opponents scored against in a single season: 19 (2011/12) (Shared with Lionel Messi and Ronaldo)
- The first player to score more than 50 goals in four [consecutive] seasons in Spanish football
- Most hat-tricks in La Liga: 34 hat-tricks
- Most goals scored in La Liga after the first 8 games: 15 goals (and he didn’t play in 1 of those games)
- Most goals scored in La Liga after the first 10 games: 17 goals (and he didn’t play in 1 of those games)
- Most goals scored in La Liga after the first 12 games: 20 goals (and he didn’t play in 1 of those games)
- Most goals scored in La Liga after the first 15 games: 25 goals (and he didn’t play in 1 of those games) (shared with Pruden and Bata)
- Most consecutive home matches scored in La Liga (in which he played): 17 consecutive home games
- Only player to win 3 LFP awards in one season (2013/14): Best player, Best Forward and Best goal
- Fastest La Liga player to score 150 league goals (140 games)
- Fastest La Liga player to score 200 league goals (178 games)
- Fastest player to score 300 official club goals
- Best La Liga penalty conversion rate (of at least 30 PK’s): 93%
- The best goal ratio ever in La Liga (over 100 games): 1.07
- The first player to score 40+ goals in 3 La Liga seasons (shared with Lionel Messi)
- Most La Liga hat-tricks in a season: 8 hat-tricks (shared with Lionel Messi)
While many football fans have argued and debated on which of the two is superior to the other for the entirety of the last 9 years, what’s for sure is that the epic rivalry has influenced them to want to outmatch each other and has thusly driven up both of their performances.
Will that still be the same now that Ronaldo would be plying his trade in Turin? The answer to that will surface eventually.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.