Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo's perseverance draws level with Messi's divine talent

The thing I admire about Cristiano Ronaldo is his titanic hard work. He won his first Ballon d’Or ten years ago. Already by that point a young Lionel Messi came second. The Argentine’s enormous talent gave an inkling that domination would follow. In fact, he won the next four. In three of those, Ronaldo took second place, while Xavi and Iniesta joined him on the podium the year Spain won the World Cup. But Ronaldo did not give up, not on Messi and not on the ‘sursum corda’. He knuckled down and, with perseverance, he has won four of the last five. The score is now a draw: 5-5. Ronaldo has kept pace with Messi; the Mozart of football.

Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo's perseverence draws level with Messi's divine talent

Ronaldo challenges Messi's God-given talent

Now, I know that there are people who argue about the results. There are some who see the Ballon d’Or as futile, absurd. Football is a team sport they say, and they are correct. But ever since we had kick-abouts on the school playground, there have always been certain players chosen before the others. Now the game has become an industry of the spectacular, and those players win games, fill stadiums, and sell shirts. Yes, they’re all equal. But some are more equal than others, and there is only one that is equal to himself. In times gone by that was Di Stéfano, then Pele, Cruyff, Maradona… And now, who? Now, there is one chosen by God and another who is disputing that.

Ballon d'Or: Ronaldo's perseverence draws level with Messi's divine talent

Cristiano's perseverence is admirable

Cristiano Ronaldo is the one doing the disputing. His physicality, hard work, and his dedication have challenged destiny. I admire that he set his mind to such a goal, and I also admire that he continues to achieve it. Today the Ballon d’Or and The Best have been reunited. Ronaldo is the reigning European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid. He is on the way to turning 33 years old, yet he is still challenging Messi – that exceptional footballing talent. Messi is capable of interpreting the game and manipulating the ball like nobody could have imagined possible before seeing him. Well, Cristiano has hung on alongside him. That is colossal.