The pair have been trying to outdo each other for a long time, shattering countless records in the process.
They’ve been the undisputed ruling forces of football. A combined total of 11 Ballon d’Or awards doesn’t begin to sum it up.
The older generation, for example, tends to recall the exploits of Diego Maradona, Pele or Johan Cruyff in the GOAT debate. While the younger ones tend to stick with Ronaldo and Messi.
In an attempt to settle the score once and for all, Marca gave it’s readers the chance to have their say on this debate in a week-long voting panel.
Interestedly, the Spanish news outlet reported that Messi took a strong lead by around 60%. But Ronaldo soon caught up with his rival to nick the GOAT crown with 8% more votes.
Overall, Ronaldo clocked 246,000 votes compared to Messi’s 209,000.
Using a World Cup-style tournament format, Marca revealed it’s results.
Lionel Messi 78% 22% Ferenc Puskas
Eusebio 17% 83% Alfredo Di Stefano
Franz Beckenbauer 17% 83% Ronaldo Nazario
Michel Platini 8% 92% Pele
Diego Maradona 60% 40% Ronaldinho
Lev Yashin 8% 92% Johan Cruyff
Zinedine Zidane 82% 18% George Best
Paolo Maldini 27% 73% Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi 70% 30% Alfredro Di Stefano
Ronaldo Nazario 53% 47% Pele
Diego Maradona 67% 33% Johan Cruyff
Zinedine Zidane 44% 56% Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi 52% 48% Ronaldo Nazario
Diego Maradona 41% 59% Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo Nazario 51% 49% Diego Maradona
Lionel Messi 46% 54% Cristiano Ronaldo
So there you have – Ronaldo tops Marca’s GOAT charts ahead of Messi.
Brazilian Ronaldo, meanwhile, finishes a respectable third after beating Maradona in the third-place playoff.