Cristiano Ronaldo ~ Your Favorite Player Is So Much Better!! Thread

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by EdgarAllanPoet, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member+

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Aug 11, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    Ronaldo doesn't even make that many runs (I would bet it is average or even bellow average for strikers). His quality in off the ball movement largerly comes from positioning rather than actual movement and sprints and if you watch actual goals he scored in ucl, it usually isn't a remarkable movement and a sprint, but having a sense to be in the right place at the right time.

    So this whole off the ball movement you are preaching isn't just movement per se, but it is positioning plus movement. Also Ronaldo has a significant edge compared to most strikers in a mentality. He is relentless in his playing style, always wanting more and more and more.

    Ronaldo is not some genius in terms of moving off the ball. He is great at every part of it, technical, athleticism, etc and on top of that he is relentless.
  2. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    Except you yourself have admitted that Ronaldo’s runs like that are largely for purposes of getting himself goals, and WhoScored absolutely does account for the goals that those runs generate for him.

    Okay, but as I’ve said we know that top teams are widely trying to create midfield overloads. In modern football, it’s definitely understood to be a net positive and almost even a necessity. Messi was the one providing that. I don’t think it’s really very tenable to argue that providing a midfield overload isn’t a significant net positive.

    How is it highly regarded in WhoScored’s ratings? We don’t know their formula, but it certainly seems to me like WhoScored doesn’t really put much value on sheer passing volume (you can look it up and see the top bunch of players in passes per game in various league seasons typically have pretty mediocre averages—for instance, only two of the top 10 in the EPL last season had above a 7.0 average rating). And, regardless, as I’ve noted, a player’s own touches don’t encompass even close to all the value of providing a midfield overload. The value of the midfield overload is that it basically means someone is always unmarked. Often that won’t actually be Messi. But if someone is unmarked and therefore another player is easily able to progress the ball to that person, then it happened because of the midfield overload Messi created but literally nothing would even go on the stat sheet for Messi. This happens all the time. It’s huge value that WhoScored could never account for.

    No worries! I appreciate the apology, and just wanted to make sure we didn’t veer into unfriendliness.

    Hahaha, definitely won’t be editing! And I’ve made similar statements earlier in the thread anyways!
  3. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    Man, you've derailed the conversation significantly. It's shocking. Let me redirect you one more time.

    You claimed:
    1) Messi has more touches deep against tougher opponents
    2) Messi has more touches deep over time.

    Both are demonstrably false when referring to Messi's ENTIRE TOUCH HISTORY.

    On a game by game basis, I could NOT find ANY evidence of (1). You are WELCOME to contradict me and show us this is a real pattern that occurred.
    THAT is the discussion we had.

    On NPV, let's be clear:
    (1) Messi's touch volume dropped drastically. From 90-100 (approx) to 70-80? I'm working from memory.
    (2) Obviously, this will translate to a significantly lower NPV.
    (3) Messi's ball reception skills declined (less runs into the box) because his athleticism wore off (I can prove this with DATA should you like?), so a CRUDE model like NPV which is purely based on positioning, will deduct NPV since he was never a passing outlet with the same regularity afterward.
    (4) Lastly, this is a CRUDE, PREDICTIVE Model that does NOT even INPUT PLAYER POSITION. It's effectively meaningless.

    If you can SHOW that Ronaldo has more NPV (no matter how crude it is) than Messi and correlate that with his SUPERIOR goal performance - You MIGHT have an argument.

    Otherwise, this constitutes: moving the goalposts, derailment, permutating the point of discussion.
  4. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    So Ronaldo makes a significant volume of runs and displacements that:
    (1) Threaten the defensive line (push it backward and creates separation from midfield line)
    (2) Generates opportunities for PASSES (you know most of those runs or a huge chunk are NOT being provided for with passes).
    These runs create threatening situations.
    (3) Some of these runs create shots on goals, some are converted to goals, some are direct chance creation, some are converted to assists.
    (4) Some of those runs create space for other players to shoot. These players will either miss or score.

    All the "work" and "off-ball threat" has been reduced purely to G+A production in Ronaldo's case.

    Messi makes a significant volume of passes and combinations that:
    (1) Generate opportunities for Goals and Assists (and missed opportunities thereof)

    That "work" is quantified as Pass number, dribbles, through balls, what have you.
    But the end result is Goals and assists.

    But in Ronaldo's case you are willing to DISMISS the "work" that does not directly lead to a quantifiable Goal/Assist, but in Messi's a dribble that does NOT lead to a Goal/Assist matters to you. Do you see the evident contradiction?

    Please demonstrate a single modern team that has had any success playing with a center forward or inside forward that combines significantly with midfielders and has Messi's workrate. Please show.
  5. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    I think this discussion has mostly run its course. It’s just recycling of the same things over and over again, and responding to the same arguments on BigSoccer over and over again cannot be my full-time job. But I guess I’ll try again one more time:

    The whole point of what we were talking about is that Messi had less of an opportunity to score in later years, in part because of a change in role (and also of course due to his team being less good in general). That’s what you're contesting. It’s not specifically about “touch” location. That’s a straw man, and in fact I’ve specifically corrected that and said it’s about frequency of positioning in the areas/positions most optimal to score from. If you’re positioned less frequently in those particular ways, then your role has obviously changed to give you less of an opportunity to score. One can call that “dropping deeper” or maybe it’s more accurate to say it simply reflects more consistently dropping from the forward line. Either way, someone who is receiving the ball in substantially less dangerous positions (as shown by substantially lower net possession value received) is obviously positioned less often in places most optimal to score from, and that’s what matters for the purposes of the underlying discussion.

    Showing heat maps that look reasonably similar overall doesn’t disprove this at all. First, and most importantly, the primary question here is positioning in the spots easiest to score from (i.e. on the forward line as the guy who will receive a final ball). Those are overwhelmingly the spots from which the best chances come, so if you’re in those spots less, then you’ll very likely score less. But those spots don’t really even generate many “touches” because the final ball often isn’t completed and if it’s not then there’s not a “touch” since Messi wouldn’t be involved in an event that’s recorded. So you wouldn’t expect a guy like Messi who has always dropped deep a good bit to have a way different heat map in years where he’s more often positioned in those spots easier to score from. That positioning just isn’t going to produce a large amount of his touches either way, so it’ll have a negligible effect on the heat map (but, in contrast, it’d have an appropriately large effect on the net possession value received, since when he does receive passes when in those positions, it’ll be in very high-value locations). Second of all, heat maps reflect touches, and touches largely internalize the extent to which someone has advanced the ball (since it shows events, like passes made and dribbles), so if you drop deeper and therefore often have more space to advance the ball before passing (or dribbling someone or shooting) then the actual events that count as touches might well happen in fairly similar places.

    If you put this together, you can see the silliness of your point. Let’s say, in Situation A, Messi has dropped back and gets the ball a fair bit outside the box. He carries the ball forward and when he gets at the edge of the box, he dribbles by someone, and then gets a bit inside the box and takes a shot. This will produce “touches” both at the edge of the box and a bit inside the box (because there’s events in those locations, in the form of dribbling someone and shooting). Perhaps in Situation A, Messi is instead less successful (since we’re asking him to do something very difficult here), and he carries the ball forward to the edge of the box and then has the ball taken away from him or just has to pass backward. Even then, he’s got a touch recorded at the edge of the box. But now let’s instead say, in Situation B, Messi is positioned on the forward line, and a through ball is passed to him. If the through ball isn’t completed (and it often won’t be), then there’s no touch recorded for this at all. And if it is completed, then there will just be one touch recorded, presumably a shot a decent bit inside the box. If anything, having a lot of Situation A will tend to create a heat map that shows more “touches” in forward positions than Situation B. And yet obviously Situation B is actually the easier situation from which to score goals. Situation B would also result in much higher Net Possession Value received. So, while this is just a stylized example, this sort of thing being at play is very consistent with the data/information we have.

    Of course, Messi has always done a lot of Situation A, but the question is how often Situation B comes into play. The more he’s doing that, the more often he’s in the most optimal situation/position to score from. And obviously the data we have tells us pretty conclusively that it came up less often in later years, since his net possession value received was much lower in later years. What happened instead is that Messi became more often the guy who was making the through ball to someone else in that situation (often Luis Suarez), rather than being the guy who was on the end of it. And of course this shift happened due to many factors—including Messi improving even more as a final-ball playmaker, the midfield getting less good at that, and Suarez being a great pure striker. It just made more sense to have Messi focus more on progressing the ball and making the final ball and less on being the guy getting on the end of the final ball.

    Anyways, this is just something that’s obvious to anyone that watched Messi over the years. You claim you watched “thousands of hours” of him, so it’s hard to see how you don’t just intrinsically understand this. It’s kind of just a waste of time to discuss, since you’re very entrenched in a clearly incorrect position.
    ganapordiego and Gregoire1 repped this.
  6. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    To add a couple quick points about dumb stuff:

    This doesn’t make sense. We know Messi’s passes per game in La Liga in all of the seasons from the data I provided you, and it’s 67.7, 61.4, and 59.8 in those years respectively. Passes made isn’t quite the same as passes received per game, but it’ll obviously be very similar numbers. Let’s just add shots per game, and dispossessions/bad-controls per game to that, to get a good approximation of passes received per game. That gets us to 76.9 in 2010-2011, 69.9 in 2014-2015, and 67.7 in 2019-2020. But then we also know how many passes per game the team made in these years. And based on that, we get an estimate of Messi receiving 10.2% of the team’s passes in 2010-2011, 10.3% of the team’s passes in 2014-2015, and 9.6% of the team’s passes in 2019-2020. Basically the same in all the years. And yet the percent of the team’s net possession value he received went pretty dramatically down. His share of the team’s NPV received going down is just objectively not a result of receiving fewer passes. It’s a result of receiving passes in less dangerous areas.

    LOL, Messi just won the World Cup and the Copa America. And he has won several Champions Leagues and a boatload of league titles. He literally has won more titles than anyone in the history of football. So yeah, I’d say there’s a pretty fantastic example of modern teams having success playing with someone like Messi, as Messi’s teams have had absolutely historic amounts of success.
    ganapordiego repped this.
  7. OffTheBallMovement

    Real Madrid
    Jul 18, 2023
    Yes and what do you think the defenders does when they see Ronaldo trying to get himself into a goalscoring position? They follow him and that opens space for his forward teammates to exploit. And this isn't recognized by WhoScored.

    Yes, as I said, it's a trade off. He is making things easier for his midfield teammates and harder to his forward teammates.

    Yes but my point were that Messi is getting touches and passes for dropping deep. Ronaldo isn't getting chances created or number of penetrative runs in his stats on WhoScored and Ronaldo's game revolves around his runs. That's the main reason he were so successful both at scoring goals and dragging defenders or even tiring the defenses who can't keep up with his stamina over 90 minutes. His work ethic often inspire his teammates and brings the better of them
  8. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    #233 SayWhatIWant, Sep 21, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
    I'm not sure there is much value in replying to your post point-by-point since you are taking us to deep the Indian Ocean instead of sticking to the subject.

    Here are two observations / facts :
    1. Barcelona as a team experienced a relative decline after their golden 2008-2012 period.
    2. Messi adapted to his decline in physicality (both stamina and burst acceleration) and to Barcelona's shift in playstyle.
    • This is seen in at least 3 supporting observations:
    • (1) Messi and Barcelona started playing more directly and in transition (see 14/15).
    • (2) Barcelona's production in build-up without Messi declined. Their goal production without Messi also declined (post Neymar). This was the beginning of Messi "dependencia". So, a greater dependency on Messi developed.
    • (3) Messi's penalty box dribbling ability, shot-creating ability, and incisive runs declined in volume.
    From Messi's complete touch data we can surmise the following:
    • His touch volume in deeper areas did NOT increase in any substantial way (from heatmap his highest volume is prob 10/11 from deep). This means he was not occupied or offering ADDITIONAL playmaking value to his peak years. In other words, Messi scoring and assisting less is NOT because he is spending MORE TIME offering value elsewhere.
    • His touch volume in deeper areas did NOT increase in tougher games ( I obviously do not have the entire library of touch maps in tough matches - only what I have found), so he was decidedly NOT offering ADDITIONAL playmaking value in those zones "to make up for" not Scoring/Assisting.
    From historical xG data, we can surmise the following:
    • His total xG per season is remarkably stable.
    • His xG/shot is remarkably stable (more on that later).
    From touch data, we know for a fact that from 2017/18 to 21-22:
    -His touch volume in the attacking 3rd INCREASED (significantly)
    -His touch volume in the middle 3rd was STABLE.

    15/16 to 21/22
    -Messi's shot/90 was very steady around a little more than 5, as did his shots/target.
    -The distance of his shot (on average)
    was very stable - between 19.5 and 20m.
    -His dribbling volume and success percentage declined.

    The conclusion is simple:
    -Messi did NOT score and assist LESS because he was providing MORE VALUE DEEPER. He provided less or equal value from deep - and was fed a huge volume of possessions in the final third. His xG and xG/shot is remarkably stable, but his shot-creating ability DECLINED because of his declining athleticism.

    ONE WORD on NPV:
    -We are comparing Ronaldo to Messi. Can you show that Ronaldo received MORE NPV than Messi? If not, the stat is useless (it's also useless intrinsically) for the purposes of the discussion. I doubt any forward received the NPV Messi received.

    We discussed his away form and knockout form in peak pep years, and post-pep. This is not just a barca decline era discussion.
  9. OffTheBallMovement

    Real Madrid
    Jul 18, 2023
    His off ball movement is about his game reading, timing, positioning, ability to control the pass, and his ability to shot/pass with both feets and head from any distance/angle of the pitch. He also does fake runs to deceive the defenders and creating his own space. It's also for his spatial and tactical awereness knowing exactly where his teammates and opponents are on the field. He have a very high footballing I.Q. for that matter. Also his physicality allows him to outsprint, outmuscle and outjump any defender in the world. His adaptability also allows him to change his role or position during a match which give the manager more options to adapt to various situations
    SayWhatIWant repped this.
  10. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    #235 lessthanjake, Sep 21, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
    Ronaldo literally runs less than almost anyone besides Messi. He’s not some constant mover like Thomas Muller. Other players do this stuff more than Ronaldo—he’s really not the king of value in this regard. Anyways, I’m not suggesting that Ronaldo doesn’t get a good deal of value that isn’t encompassed in something like WhoScored. This issue is just that Messi does too.

    Ultimately, I think there *is* a point to the idea that in some sense Messi might be getting more credit for the kinds of stuff that he does to directly help create a scoring chance that doesn’t actually end up working out in the end. So, yeah, if Messi makes a nice dribble that helps create a chance that the pass doesn’t reach or the person doesn’t score, then that dribbling work does at least get valued somewhat by WhoScored, while the good work in Ronaldo making a great run that a final ball doesn’t reach isn’t getting valued. I agree with you on that. So, in terms of direct participation in what happens surrounding the final ball, Messi probably gets credited for a greater proportion of the “made a good action to help create a chance but it didn’t quite work out in the end” stuff than Ronaldo (though I’ll note that both of them still do the things that we’re quintessentially talking about the other one doing, so the difference in proportion here isn’t quite as stark as you might want to think).

    But, at the same time, there’s just a whole large area of influence and value that Messi has on other phases of the game that don’t get encompassed by stats, where Ronaldo is simply less involved so his value there isn’t nearly as underrated by stats as Messi’s. The combination of dropping deep and being such a highly marked player that teams want to be able to instantly crowd him if he gets the ball results in Messi just turbocharging his team’s possession and progression in a massive way that isn’t really encompassed by stats and there’s not much of a reasonable argument that Ronaldo gets even close to matching this kind of value in those phases/areas (even if we take as given that the threat of his speed pushes the defensive line back a bit, which helps progression a bit).

    I also don’t think WhoScored has sophisticated enough information to know exactly how dangerous an area someone’s passes have gone to (their website has data on whether stuff was in the penalty area and whatnot, but there’s no indication they have complex zonal valuation), so fantastic pre-assists will be in the data but I think very likely are undervalued. Which is a big deal, since Messi is absolutely elite in that regard (while Ronaldo is not), and we can see that with his performance in stats that are more sophisticated in that regard, like Expected Threat. So that’s another area where WhoScored ratings would be biased against Messi. The idea that Ronaldo gets more value not encompassed by WhoScored ratings really just is a very dubious claim.

    LOL, the stuff I’ve bolded here is directly contradicted by the net possession value and progression data I provided. It’s just false and you know it. We have direct and conclusive data on what you’re talking about that completely contradicts what you’re saying, and yet you’re just choosing to look at extremely indirect information in order to draw a different conclusion. There’s no justification for it.

    On the rest of this stuff about touches, you should just read my prior post and actually engage your brain to think about what I said.

    Again, you’re making claims based on indirect information when we actually have direct information that disproves what you’re saying. We know that Messi’s xG per shot absolutely went down over the years:

    We have more data on Messi than Ronaldo because of the Messi data biography. So, as far as I know, the answer is we don’t have this data for Cristiano Ronaldo. But the discussion was about Messi’s changing role, which obviously this NPV data goes directly to regardless of whether there’s NPV data for Ronaldo. If you choose to think that Ronaldo’s net possession value received wasn’t higher than later-years Messi’s, then I guess you’re free to think that, but I think any unbiased person who watched these players knows that’s almost certainly not right.

    And I’ll note that the very rudimentary data we have that might shed light on this question goes against such a notion. In the data we have (from 2017-2018 onwards), we know that Ronaldo’s number of touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes was about 20% higher than Messi’s and the one year in that data that’s from Real Madrid is miles ahead of any year we have for Messi and like over 60% higher than Messi’s average. And that’s at the same time that Ronaldo didn’t have nearly as much progressive carry distance, so if anything the difference between the two in NPV received is likely to be larger than the difference in touches in the penalty area. We don’t know for sure what NPV received would say for Ronaldo, but there’s little reason to think it wouldn’t show Ronaldo having a higher NPV received.
    ganapordiego repped this.
  11. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    Anyways, it’s actually insane how much time I’ve wasted arguing around and around about this stuff. I’ve made my points, and I don’t want to keep spending tons of my time endlessly banging my head against a wall arguing the same points over and over again with multiple people—especially when I feel like my points are obviously correct and are widely accepted/understood in the footballing world and at the same time that there’s zero chance that those I’m discussing with will ever change their mind. So I don’t intend to respond further about the various topics being actively discussed unless someone responds with something I find genuinely new and interesting.
    ganapordiego repped this.
  12. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    Fake news. You are referring to data from when Ronaldo has been an old man in football years. We all know Ronaldo declined physically. Nobody is in make-believe land. But to claim it is representative of his work in years prior to "old football age" is nonsensical.
    Cough up the data.

    (I am not going back in forth with you when you called WhoScored "arbitrary". I don't rate WhoScored or any scoring system. So, I literally do not care and I am glad we see eye-to-eye on the non-value of this numbers.)

    Is this your final answer? Yes, or no.

    Can you point to a single statement and clearly state that it is a FACTUALLY INCORRECT statement.

    Please do, or I encourage you to withdraw the statement.

    No need to insult.

    It goes up and down, and not by appreciably huge amounts. I will provide you with xg/shot, median distance, and xG for every single season. Sit tight.

    You have permutated the discussion. Let me redirect you once again:
    We were discussing the discrepancy in production in CL knockout career-wise, and during PEAK years, and AWAY production.
    -Your justification was: That Messi had to occupy himself providing ADDITIONAL value DEEP in TOUGH games and as Barca's career declined.

    With all the data that is available in this discussion, we KNOW this to be UNTRUE.

    You have however provided valuable corroborating evidence that Messi's RELATIVE VALUE to the Barca increased over the years. This is obvious just LOOKING at BASIC STATS. It is CERTAIN that Barcelona developed "Messidependencia".

    And? Ronaldo is getting on the end of headers. This is complete nonsense.
    Of course, how could Ronaldo have the progressive carry distance of Messi? He permutated into a center-forward in his last Real years, and Messi permutated back to a Right forward (wing play).
    Where is Ronaldo supposed to carry the ball to? You yourself said he's in the penalty box. Very illogical.
  13. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    No need to reply further TBH. The subject has been conclusively closed with data.

    Touch data has been provided. The years with the highest touch volume "deep" were pre 2008-09 and 10-11 (going by memory).
    G+A data has been provided.
    I can provide location-based touch volume in Messi's later years that clearly show he HAD MORE touches in final third/pen box with LESS production.
    We know Messi's xG remained fairly stable, and shot volumes as well.
    We know his dribbling ability and athleticism declined (the data says so).
  14. OffTheBallMovement

    Real Madrid
    Jul 18, 2023
    #239 OffTheBallMovement, Sep 22, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023
    Ronaldo vs Prime Atletico Madrid:


    Messi vs Prime Atletico Madrid:


    These are all games between the season 13/14 and 15/16

    @lessthanjake this is particularly inconsistent with what you said about Real Madrid still winning games even when Ronaldo doesn't play well and Barcelona always losing when Messi doesn't play well. They had a very close output but Real lost most of their games and Barcelona won most of their games even Messi and Ronaldo performing an less than 8.0 WS rating. Your standard. Not mine. As I said, I don't agree with WS ratings

    EDIT: Remembering that these two extra Ronaldo games are two UCL finals
    SayWhatIWant repped this.
  15. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member+

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Aug 11, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    I generally agree with the sentiment that Ronaldo is great off the ball and that that brings a lot of value to the team (in some ways that Messi, for example, doesnt quite like that), but it does seem you are taking this to an absolute extreme and you are overly-enthusiastic about Ronaldo's off the ball play. He is not perfect in that regard as nobody is perfect at anything.

    I disagree with few things in what you said here:

    1. The notion of fake runs to decieve his opponents and create space for himself is misleading way of explaining feints.

    It is misleading because it implies that he is actually running (a lot) to do so, but in 99% cases it is a simple, short movement in one direction followed by a (usually short) movement in another and not actual runs or sprints.

    This is important because it seems like you keep arguing Ronaldo moves rapidly and a lot around penalty box and that that is a big part of his off the ball movement.

    That skill is more precisely described as feints and Cristiano indeed utlilizes those at a world class level (but in no way is he extremely special in that regard because feints are a fundamental part of a playing style of any world class goalscorer. It is impossible to score 50+ goals in a season without having an acute awareness in that regard)

    2. I agree that Cristiano has developed over the years a near perfect tactical intelligence in his position and a role, but I disagree about spatial intelligence.

    Tactical intelligence allows him to intimately understand and utilize overlaps from the left fullback, strikers runs, make lay off passes and all other repetitive patterns that could possibly occur in the final third of the pitch or on counter attacks, but as soon as things get a little bit messy (no pun intended) and out of the realm of tactics, he is not demonstrating an exceptional ability to improvise and "go with the flow".. a lot of criticism of hims not being as talented as some other greats comes from this.

    This is plainly obvious when we compare him with someone like Neymar who has generally played in the similar positions and is so much more intuitive and quicker to react in more complex situations.

    The result of that is that Cristiano is not exceptional in build up and progression of the ball from midfield via passing and combinatorics.

    I know you will disagree but whatever. The lastly on that point i should probably define spatial intelligence. For me spatial intelligence in this context would be a, innate, general ability to quickly adapt to any configuration and situation that could possibly arise on the pitch (also tightly linked with vision I guess).

    Cristiano is great at quickly reacting in various, repetitive situations that he has already seen countless of times (somewhat overlapping with tactical intelligence), but if you put him out of the comfort zone of situations that he has trained himself to near perfection, he would have a hard time adapting to new circumstances.

    This is also, why when his team starts to struggle, he begins to make terrible decisions usually opting for highly difficult, long shots rather than adapting to new tactical and otherwise needs of the game.

    So I guess I believe Cristiano is not particularly great at neither tactical or spatial intelligence, but has trained himself to near perfection and is phenomenal in his specified roles.

    In his successful ucl campaigns, he had never had to adapt or improvise to unforeseen struggles for his teams or tactical situations.

    3. This also leads to disagreement that Ronaldo has an extremely high football IQ.

    He surely does have a high IQ in penalty box, but otherwise I disagree.

    Also I have never seen some call Ronaldo an all time great player in decision making which, if you agree with that as well, directly contradicts the notion that he has exceptionally high IQ.

    4. He has never outmuscled his opponents. Very quick conversation.

    5. And finally I dont think Ronaldo is in any remarkable way an adaptable player at all. This is strictly your irrational worshipping of him talking.

    All of what Ive said so far applies to this point.

    The extent of his adaptibility is that he can understand when his midfield is struggling to progress the ball forward so he would drop deeper on either flanks and offer lay off passes and/or the ball carrying ability.

    Other than that I dont see how anyone could so highly praise Cristiano for adaptibility.

    This all strikes me as someone deciding that Cristiano has shown the goat level of performance in ucl and it is by far the biggest reason why Real won all these ucls so is now trying to rationalize why that is the case and why whoscored ratings would likely not show such level of performers.

    We have Ronaldos IQ and adaptibility at full display in WCs 14 and 18 and Euro 16 during his "the goat" run in ucl 14-18.
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  16. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    Ronaldo is as smart as any player that's ever played the game, and I do not think there is anybody that can be considered his superior in the final third in history.
  17. Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast Member+

    Dinamo Zagreb
    Aug 11, 2016
    Nat'l Team:

    I disagree
  18. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    #243 lessthanjake, Sep 22, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023
    Huh? My analysis of what happened when these players performed with a less than 8.0 WhoScored rating was very clearly specifically about what happened in the Champions League. That was the whole point! I wasn’t arguing that Barcelona was way worse than Real Madrid in general, but rather that they happened to perform worse in the relatively small number of games encompassing Champions League ties where Messi/Cristiano weren’t amazing. I made no representation whatsoever about what happened in non-CL games when these players were below an 8.0 rating. As I’ve said before, my guess is that it probably isn’t the case that Messi’s teams have done as badly in those types of games in other competitions as they did in the Champions League. And, on that front, it’s perhaps worth noting that in the Champions League, Barcelona were knocked out by Atletico Madrid both times Messi averaged less than 8.0 in the tie, while Real Madrid won both times Cristiano averaged less than 8.0 in the tie. It may well be that the same sort of thing wasn’t true in other competitions (I genuinely don’t know, but my guess is it wasn’t), but that’s beside the point, because the point was about how the teams happened to do in the Champions League specifically when these guys weren’t amazing.

    And, by the way, it doesn’t really matter, but what you posted doesn’t really look like “close output” given Messi’s WhoScored average was much higher. Even if Messi/Ronaldo’s G+A numbers are pretty similar, perhaps Barcelona did better against Atletico in general in part because Messi was better in those games overall!
  19. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    Ronaldo breaking down a low block at the highest level with off-ball / tactical / spatial awareness:

    Diagonal run to far post toward wing of crosser dragging low block, then attacks near post.
    Potential goal opportunity. Not captured in stats.

    Dummy run inward, compressing defense and clearing space at near post. Attacks near post. Extremely threatening situation, not captured in stats (this will register as missed pass by Higuain,

    Recognizes the play 2 moves in advance. Drags defender and defense centrally with dummy run and central drift, then attacks the near post. Winning Goal. Requires elite tactical and spatial awareness, and the athleticism to create SEPARATION.

    Ronaldo breaking down a mid-block and low-block at the highest level with off-ball / tactical / spatial awareness with a different movement

    Collapses defensive line toward net then sprints opposite, away from net into space BACK TO GOAL, adjusts body shape - goal. Requires significant intelligence and spatial awareness. He makes it look easy, this is extremely complex move to execute especially at this level.

    Ball reception on the wing some 40m+ from goal. Ball reception under marking/pressure. This is a very deep position against a mid-block.
    Long diagonal run into penalty box after setting up parts of combinatorics.
    The sprint timing is perfect, complex and creates a goal-opportunity. This requires an engine and elite tactical understanding.

    (No stats will capture this outstanding @OffTheBallMovement)

    Ronaldo breaking a low-block through incisive run to far post. Goal opportunity. Requires the athleticism to create separation.

    Significant ball-carrying from half-way line against a mid-block into deep zone.

    More Ronaldo off-ball work vs. organized low block

    Ronaldo in the center forward position completely marked. Sharp incisive run attacking near post to clear penalty surface for a cross to Bale.
    Ronaldo does a ton of these runs - they are not captured by stats at all.

    2:14 Brilliant curved sprint from blind-side of the defender into penalty surface vs a low-block. Elite timing, athleticism. This is a THREAT level NO dribble equals! (@OffTheBallMovement NOT captured by stats)

    2:36 Short sprint attacking the space, occupying the defenders and creating for Benzema the time and space to receive the ball and shoot.
    ???Maybe he should have been chilling in the midfield tiki-takaing and boosting through ball stats??? @OffTheBallMovement
    Ronaldo does a ton of these movements. They provide value insofar as they generate THREAT and GOAL OPPORTUNITY - NOT CAPTURED BY STATS.

    @carlito86 @Isaías Silva Serafim

    We could go on, but if you do not understand that Ronaldo's tactical know-how and movement in the final third is the best in history (or as good as the best), then you can't be helped. If you cannot recognize the sheer volume of threat he generates with off-ball movement, then you can't be helped. This will be taught in academies for 100 years.

    2:23 Big counter-attacking sprint, never receives the ball. (not captured by stats)

    If anyone thinks a random Messi dribble that does not create a shot-opportunity offers more value than some of this, then go back to school.
  20. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    #245 lessthanjake, Sep 22, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023

    I realize that that messivsronaldo website actually makes it fairly easy to look at the question of how these players did in league games by WhoScored rating, rather than making digging up that information excruciating. So I thought I’d present it. I’m not really making any argument with this in favor or against either player. As I noted above, the point I was making was about the Champions League specifically. But I thought it was an interesting question to look at something similar for the league, to see if the findings would be similar or different (since that might lead us to different conclusions about their teams). Of course, league matches aren’t two-legged ties, and there’s a possibility of drawing, so it’s not directly comparable to the Champions League info I provided, but I figured it might be of general interest.

    What I looked at specifically was what happened in La Liga matches against other top teams—which I defined as games Barcelona and Real Madrid played each other from 2009-2010 onwards (that’s the first year WhoScored ratings start and Ronaldo’s first year in Madrid), as well as games that they played Atletico Madrid from 2013-2014 onwards (could certainly start it a year or two earlier if you want to see those numbers instead, but I figured that’s the first year they really broke out).

    Messi vs. Atletico (2013-2014 onwards) + Real Madrid (2009-2010 onwards) in La Liga

    - Matches with 8.0+ rating: 21
    - Barcelona’s record in 8.0+ matches: 15 wins, 6 draws, 0 losses (2.43 points per match)

    - Matches with below 8.0 rating: 18
    - Barcelona’s record in below 8.0 matches: 4 wins, 6 draws, 8 losses (1.00 points per match)

    Ronaldo vs. Atletico (2013-2014 onwards) + Barcelona (2009-2010 onwards) in La Liga

    - Matches with 8.0+ rating: 6
    - Real Madrid’s record in 8.0+ matches: 2 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses (1.33 points per match)

    - Matches below 8.0 rating: 22
    - Real Madrid’s record in below 8.0 matches: 3 wins, 7 draws, 12 losses (0.73 points per match)

    So basically, what happened in La Liga was kind of a polar opposite of what happened in the Champions League. In the Champions League, when these two players didn’t have an 8.0+ WhoScored rating in a tie against a top team, Ronaldo’s team had significantly better results than Messi’s. And, in the Champions League, when these two players did have an 8.0+ WhoScored rating in a tie against a top team, Ronaldo’s team never lost and Messi’s team actually did. The results in La Liga were basically the opposite. When facing top teams in La Liga, it was Messi’s team that did better when these players didn’t have an 8.0 rating (1.00 points per match vs. 0.73 points per match). And when these two players had an 8.0+ average rating against top teams in La Liga, Messi’s team got much more consistently good results than Ronaldo’s team did.

    The fact that it’s the opposite in La Liga from what it was in the Champions League does, I think, back the idea that the difference in what happened in the Champions League when these players had above and below an 8.0 rating was not really that Real Madrid was simply a superior team against top clubs than Barcelona was overall, but rather that Real Madrid happened to have been a superior team against top clubs in Champions League matches.
  21. SayWhatIWant

    SayWhatIWant Member+

    Jan 10, 2015
    :ROFLMAO: are still doing this make believe "8" rsting analysis. Imagine picking a number from a hat that is not mathematically derived and setting it as the criteria in a scoring system where Ronaldo averages below 8.
  22. carlito86

    carlito86 Member+

    Jan 11, 2016
    Real Madrid
  23. OffTheBallMovement

    Real Madrid
    Jul 18, 2023
    I hardly disagree on this. Ronaldo spontaneously adapts to a larger variety of situations throughout a game. You can't honestly without a clear agenda argue otherwise. Barcelona's build-ups are all repetitive and similar movements and patters manifest many times over every game. When do you see Ronaldo get the ball with all the same movements and player patterns developing? We've all seen Messi replicate the same plays and attacking moves be it dribbling, shooting or passing thousands of times. Ronaldo doesn't get to hit rewind and try again 10 times a game.

    I've laid out the constant 1-2's, the dribbles along the box shooting near or far post, the diagonal pass etc...etc, and Messi is on the ball over 100 times a game in deep positions where he can attempt the same build-ups. Most plays are slight variations on a theme.

    We see Ronaldo back-heeling to Benzema on the left flank, then scoring a diving header, then making a box to box sprint, then shooting from the right flank with his left foot....etc....A similar positioning and movement for the ball Ronaldo played to Nani against Hungary was never seen again in the rest of that match. That was a once in a game occurence and Ronaldo capitalized. 1 through ball, one goal. In reverse, Messi attempts that pass to Neymar 8-9 times a game as he comes into possession and his teammates make those runs repeatedly.....It's day and night. This is why ronaldo is so versatile, he must adapt to whatever opportunity arises organically.
    RamyBt and SayWhatIWant repped this.
  24. OffTheBallMovement

    Real Madrid
    Jul 18, 2023
    Great effort, mate but as I said, I don't think WS ratings is a good gauge when comparing Messi and Ronaldo for the reasons I already explained here.

    Anyways everyone knows that Barcelona did better in LaLiga and Real Madrid in Champions League in Messi/Ronaldo era and this is aligned with your post. It's like Milan and Juve in the 90s to 00s era
  25. lessthanjake

    lessthanjake Member+

    May 9, 2015
    FC Barcelona
    #250 lessthanjake, Sep 22, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023
    With all the same caveats as before, I thought for completeness sake, I’d add competitive NT matches to this analysis of how these two players did in games where their team had a lower elo rating, so we can get the full picture on that front (mostly since Ronaldo actually has a goal contribution advantage in this regard in NT games, so I wanted my analysis of this to fully engage with that).

    For purposes of determining which team had the higher elo rating in competitive NT matches, I looked at the elo ratings that WorldElo very helpfully provides for each NT match. I defined an opposing NT as higher elo if they either went into the match with a higher elo rating or left the match with a higher elo rating (note: I included matches where they went into the match with a lower elo rating but left with a higher one because including those matches helps Ronaldo).

    Here’s the total results for matches these players played against higher elo teams in club matches since their primes began + all NT matches in their career (note: I included competitive NT matches even from years outside their primes, since that helps Ronaldo). I once again included versions that contain two different time periods for the club matches, in case people want to see with and without the years where they’re old.

    Messi against teams with higher elo rating (competitive NT matches + club matches from 2008-2009 through 2020-2021)

    Goals per game: 0.44
    Assists per game: 0.24
    Goal Contributions per Match: 0.69
    Average WhoScored rating: 7.62

    Messi against teams with higher elo rating (competitive NT matches + club matches from 2008-2009 through 2022-2023)

    Goals per game: 0.41
    Assists per game: 0.22
    Goal Contributions per Match: 0.63
    Average WhoScored Rating: 7.53

    Ronaldo against teams with higher elo rating (competitive NT matches + club matches from 2007-2008 through 2020-2021)

    Goals per game: 0.40
    Assists per game: 0.10
    Goal Contributions per Match: 0.50
    Average WhoScored rating: 7.13

    Ronaldo against teams with higher elo rating (competitive NT matches + club matches from 2007-2008 through 2022-2023)

    Goals per game: 0.48
    Assists per game: 0.09
    Goal Contributions per Match: 0.57
    Average WhoScored Rating: 7.13

    As I’m sure most would expect, Ronaldo does actually lower the gap between him and Messi here when we add in NT matches (mostly since those include Ronaldo’s WC 2018 matches against Spain and France). But, overall, in matches again higher elo teams at both club + NT level, Messi is solidly ahead of Ronaldo in both goal contributions per match and average WhoScored rating. It seems Messi is the superior performer overall in matches against higher-elo oppponents.

    NOTE AGAIN: WhoScored ratings don’t exist for all of these games, so the average WhoScored rating listed is just for the games we have ratings from. That is most matches, but there’s certainly some missing ones. Messi has a good deal higher G+A per match in the games WhoScored doesn’t have ratings for, though, so if anything the gap between the two would likely be higher if we had ratings for every match.

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