Messi vs Ronaldo: Updated Edition (Luca Caioli)

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Messi vs Ronaldo: Updated Edition (Luca Caioli)

Messi vs Ronaldo: Updated Edition (Luca Caioli)

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Messi and Ronaldo have become such an omnipresent part of sports that I knew who they were even before I started getting into soccer in the last year. I hadn't seen them play, I didn't know their statistics, but I knew that they were good, and possibly the greatest of all time. As I got into soccer and started spending some time doing research about the game, I discovered just how good the two players were, and how much they dominated their sport.

With the 2022 World Cup almost certain to be the last for both of these figures, Messi vs. Ronaldo offers a deeply researched look at their legacy and grapples with the impact that their talents have had on the game for better and for worse. Much more than a retelling of the dual accomplishments of these great players, this is truly a biography of a rivalry, one that has become a crucial lens for understanding the past, present, and future of global soccer. One of the best things that this book has going for it was that it presented the two of them in rivalry, even when they weren't. Additionally, the focus on how they remade soccer's monetary model was eye opening. Clegg did a great job of zooming in and out on the players and their ripple effects on the game and business of soccer. One of the most interesting parts of this book was how Clegg approached both superstars and their approach to the fans and media. The players both present in different ways, Ronaldo as a preening superstar, wanting the world to know about him, while Messi is quiet and just wants to play soccer. However, Clegg was able to strip away some of the image they've presented to find the similarities between the two personalities and recognize that what we see may not be the truth about each player. Both men got their start as so many soccer stars do, from humble beginnings where they fell in love with the soccer ball, and drove themselves to use their talents to rise to the top of their respective professions. While soccer does not set up for mano a mano engagements, these two would compete for the top spot in the sport. That they spend the prime of their careers on rival teams in Spain only adds to the legend between the two. The reporting of this work does much to help the reader learn about these two mega-stars. Even in America, which is far from soccer mad, most have heard the names of Rolando and Messi, but many do not know the full tales. It is quite the sports tale, and one that most Americans could easily compare with Bird vs. Magic in the NBA or Everett vs. Navratilova or Federer vs. Nadal in Tennis. Reading this book felt like a very good primer for someone like me - a person just getting into soccer and wanting to know more about it. I learned a great deal from it, and while I doubt that their army of fans would discover anything new, I would imagine this is one of the first times that all this information has been collected into one specific book. I could very well be wrong about that. There seem to be some learnings around superstars/rivalries as part of a team vs individual (e.g. tennis) but I don’t know enough to compare these guys to Lebron or others to understand the meaningful differences in wealth generated, power vis a vis club owners or leagues, etc. vs. the NBA, NFL, tennis, etc.This was my Christmas book for Krishna last year. I always enjoy reading biographies of sports greats and also learning about the business of various leagues - this book delivered on both. 4-star since you didn’t get a deep sense for either player - what they’re like and how they’re wired/motivated (which would have been hard given the structure, but I always love). Key disjointed takeaways: The first bit of advice for reading this book comes early – the authors state that this is not intended to be a dual biography of the two legends but instead a thorough look at their careers from playing the game early in life through their rise to their professional teams by examining the business side of international soccer and how it affected them. There is in-depth information on the two clubs that both players spent the bulk of their careers, and it is no coincidence that they are two of the most famous clubs in European soccer – Real Madrid (Ronaldo) and FC Barcelona (Messi). Because of both the celebrity of the players and the name recognition of their clubs, Messi and Ronaldo’s rise in fame also helped bring a revolution in the business of international soccer. There’s also a very good analysis of how Messi’s final contract at Barcelona effectively broke the entire club, as its gargantuan wage terms tipped the numbers over into 110 per cent of the organisation’s revenue. When he eventually lands at PSG, they make an optimistic attempt to turn him into a fashion plate, adding Christian Dior as a partner and making Messi “trade his jean shorts for cashmere coats and tailored trousers”. Wall Street Journal reporters Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg offer a deeply reported account of the intertwined sagas and legacies of two of the greatest soccer players of all time--Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo--examining how their rivalry has grown from a personal competition to a multi-billion-dollar industry, paralleling the stunning rise, overwhelming excesses, and uncertain future of modern international soccer. In this well-written account, you will learn about the men, but also things that shoot through the myths associated with them. I always figured Ronaldo arrogant and selfish, and he is, but he was also far more instrumental for Portugal in their 2016 European Championship. Even when he got subbed out after 20 mins due to injury, his leadership on the sideline was actually critical, as he amplified the coach’s directions (the manager having lost his voice). He was a real team leader, not just for his stellar play, but actually leading the team. Messi, while seen as less self-centered, can be just as arrogant and cutting. He is perhaps one of the best trash-talkers out there (a side he usually keeps contained, but did come out in the past World Cup against the Dutch).

No one has ever accused me of being a soccer fan which makes this book an unusual choice for me. It’s a great read that not only covers the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo but paints the soccer world as a crazy soap opera where the only romance is between each player and himself. Discussions and debates about the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of a particular sport are common today and in international soccer circles, that discussion today revolves around two players – Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. Strong cases can be made for both players and this book, while very interesting, does not help someone make a case for one or the other to be considered better.

Audiobook) (4.5 stars) Interesting that I would read this book right before the World Cup Final where Messi led Argentina to a World Cup Championship over France (3-3, 4-2 penalties) where Messi scored two in-game goals and hit one of 4 penalties for Argentina in the shootout. This was the same tournament where Ronaldo would only score one goal on a penalty in the group stage before Portugal fell to Morocco in the Quarterfinals. The book finished up before the World Cup, and before the tumultuous 2022 for Cristiano Ronaldo. Still, looking at these two players is to look at the greatest player vs. player rivalry in football, and arguably one of the top rivalries in all of sports. Today I am on Team Messi only because I always cheer for the elder statesmen of sports. Once all these icons retire and there are no contemporaries of mine left competing, it will be harder for me to relate to professional sports, as I find myself more and more calling most of the competing athletes by the endearing term “kid.” Just as in my childhood cheering on Michael Jordan and the last twenty years being firmly entrenched on Team Brady, Ronaldo and Messi are beyond generational talents. They are international icons who drive the sport both on the field and at the bank. Seeing how they have modernized football into a 21st century game has been a thrilling ride. I just hope the World Cup final today is as thrilling as Ronaldo and Messi clash at the height of their careers. With amusing irony, Messi vs Ronaldo is hitting the shelves just as Cristiano Ronaldo’s second act at Manchester United is ending in an embarrassing fireball of blame-spreading and self-owning, his abilities having declined to the point where Fred outranks him for shot accuracy this season. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, has been becalmed in Ligue 1 for 18 months, with his many worshippers hoping against hope that he can pull one last big triumph out of the bag, either in Qatar or in the Champions League. Both men are very close to the end, giving this book a somewhat valedictory feel. After finishing the epilogue, I saw that Argentina beat Croatia in the World Cup semifinal to advance to the final. I wonder if the authors would tweak the epilogue in hindsight.

The book is in three sections, Two Geniuses, Greatest(s) of All Time and Twilight of the Gods. In the first the rise of the two players is chronicled. In the second their time in La Liga together is described. Finally in Twilight of the Gods the aging of the two masters and them leaving La Liga is covered. I regret not watching more club soccer in the last 15 years given that these two (particularly Messi) truly seem like all-time greats and I am sad I missed the beauty - esp of the glory years of Barca. Have been watching a lot of YouTube goals. The two players both missing out on a World Cup win, unless either wins in 2022 is also noted and discussed. But at least it’s a worthwhile read. Written by a pair of Wall Street Journal reporters, Messi vs Ronaldo mercifully refrains from systematically going through their two careers season by season in a blur of goals and records. Instead, the emphasis is on the personal, drawing heavily on interviews with individuals who had ringside seats for both players’ rise to the top. The American perspectives of the authors are sometimes too noticeable – Walter Smith is referred to merely as “one of Ferguson’s assistant coaches from outside Glasgow”, Clive Tyldesley described as “an announcer” – but the writing is strong and detailed overall. Thanks to my son’s knowledge of football history, I knew most of the football moments outlined in this book, think Brady vs Manning but the entire world is watching. The business side of sports always interests me. I have always thought that baseball should adopt European football’s transfer policy instead of trading away soon to be free agents at the deadline in return for peanuts. Clegg has outlined why this idea is not so simple, mainly because only a handful of teams can afford the best players available on transfer or loan. As American, he simplifies the business of sports on terms that Americans who primarily watch American sports would understand. For instance, Manchester City is the Dodgers and Manchester United is the Yankees and Liverpool is the Red Sox. He notes that if Ronaldo had ever signed with Manchester City, it would be akin to the Red Sox’ sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Those terms I can relate to.Messi vs Ronaldo : One Rivalry, Two Goats, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game (2022) by Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson follows on from the two author’s very good book ‘The Club’ on the Premier League and this time looks at the careers of Ronaldo and Messi. I will give an example of one that I learned about the Premier League. Its status as one of the most profitable leagues in the world started when it signed a lucrative television contract with a similarly struggling network at the time, Sky Sports, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Around the same time in the United States, another struggling Murdoch network, Fox, engaged in a similar contract with the National Football League. Both leagues and both networks were never the same again. Lastly, very curious to see how things evolve from here. With teams like Man City and PSG and others operating with a different economic framework and the Spanish clubs really struggling to figure out their new formula - how does the Champions League competition change? Should there be a super league? The country league structure has so many flaws, it seems. The fact that things are so dynamic and could change (even the fact that international competition has dimmed in prestige in the last couple decades) is both unsettling to me and very interesting - so much tradition yet so much fluidity. Wall Street Journal reporters Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg offer a deeply reported account of the intertwined sagas and legacies of two of the greatest soccer players of all time—Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—examining how their rivalry has grown from a personal competition to a multi-billion-dollar industry, paralleling the stunning rise, overwhelming excesses, and uncertain future of modern international soccer. The amount of profligate spenders who’ve infiltrated the game (mainly Middle Eastern and Chinese actors) seems like a huge net negative on the sport. Not only have they bid up prices on assets to crazy levels but they also are not at all motivated to break even, so they’re skewing the very laissez-faire business to a race to the bottom. Seems like the era of homegrown talent is out and so many of these huge signings don’t pan out.

The people that run these clubs are seemingly very bad business people or just have very short-term incentives. Their valuation of assets seems non-rigorous to say the least and the clubs seem to be on the brink of failure all the time. Man U seems different but the book didn’t share enough info to say that with confidence. The World Cup final is here. For a sports fan this past month has been a dream. I struggle when baseball season ends and the NFL is primarily one day a week. This month, I have been watching the football of the rest of the world for the past month and bonding with my husband and son, who are fanatics, in the process. Even I know Messi and Ronaldo, how could I not, so I wanted to get this book read in time for the final game, which is starting as I write. I had been on Team Ronaldo for most of the month until his nation got eliminated. Usually I am on Team Ronaldo only because in his broken English he encouraged “another Goat” to stay out of retirement. That aside, my husband has always rooted for Brazil, so by default I would not root for Argentina, and that has kept me off of Team Messi. For today, I have joined Team Messi, only because he has said that he is done with international competitions after this World Cup, and it is always a moving moment when an athlete goes out on top. A nice fill-in-the-blanks deep dive for _the_ sporting rivalry that has dominated my football watching years. What I enjoyed most is that the authors pretty much avoided waxing lyrical about the greatness of these 2 players on the pitch, and focused solely on the business, media and corporate forces that shifted and emerged through the Messi-Ronaldo era. There were a lot of names thrown around…so many that I almost felt like I needed to create a list of all the people involved. I enjoyed the ancillary stories such as the sibling rivalry between the two brothers that created Adidas and Puma. I bet the authors are absolutely rueing publishing this book in the spring of 2022, thinking that the story of these 2 GOATs was about to finish.This book is worth the read even just to get an evolving profile of Florentino Perez, how he became rich, and his tenure as El Presidente of Real Madrid. More details about the Ronaldo and Messi entourages as well as the financial debacle that is post-Messi FC Barcelona was also worth the time.



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