Date: 15th May 2008 at 11:43am
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Joe Cole believes Lionel Messi is a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo. He is just plain wrong.

Lionel Messi could be a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo. He has the abilities, his close control is nothing like I’ve ever seen and his football brain is outstanding, incredibly sharp.

But he’s trailing Ronaldo right now, whatever Joe Cole says.

‘Ronaldo’s been fantastic but in the semi-final Messi showed he’s the top man,’ said Cole.

‘He is only 20 as well, imagine how good he will be in the next 10 years.’

While I admit that Messi played better over the two legs than Ronaldo I struggle to see why it proves anything. Martin Petrov played better than Ronaldo in that ill-fated Manchester derby yet nobody in their right mind would claim he’s the better footballer.

If the little Argentinian ever realises his full potential, he could be better than Diego Maradona, no doubt. And he can become a much better player than even Ronaldo.

But he’s been troubled by injuries and never reached his best, not to mention consistently performing to his best which he didn’t do either. And quite simply, his end product is nowhere near Ronaldo’s.

You can’t put forward reasonable arguments that would convince me that he is the better player because he performed better over two games. Ronaldo scored 41 goals this season and he’s not an orthodox, out-and-out striker. This firmly labels him as the best of the world. The notion that Messi may be superior to him on the evidence of 180 minutes is crazy. Two seasons of consistent brilliance inferior to two games of pretty footy? You’re having a laugh.

And anyway, why does Joe Cole feel it important to talk up Messi? Last time I checked the little genius was playing for Barcelona – and though one might debate whether Ronaldo or Messi is the better player, it is no question that both are better than anyone Chelsea have on their books. Of course, measured over two games Cole could be a world beater, too – but we all know he’s not.