Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two names, without which football will never be the same and they proved that over the last decade. The domination they had from 2010 to 2019 is incomparable to any rivalry in the world of sports. While they clash with each other on field with their teams, off the field they fought for the top honours, but in the end, they inspired each other to be on the top.
Some might say, Diego Maradona and Pele were the greatest of all times but the way Messi, Ronaldo played, they have created doubts in their minds. It's tough for any other player to do what they have to dominate a decade with such panache.
The Portuguese star - Cristiano Ronaldo, who spent 8 years of the decade in Real Madrid and last two in Juventus, has scored 555 goals from 2010-2019. On the other hand, Messi, who was fully devoted to Barcelona over the past 10 years, did better than CR7 with 579 goals for club and country (Argentina) included.
The greatness of Messi is what every footballer wants to achieve and the last decade was the proof of how he became, what he is right now. He started the decade with Ballon d'Or and ended it with the same to become the first player to win it six times. With Messi, you have a player, who can give you lots of goals and assists at the same time. Apart from 579 goals, he provided 230 assists in past 10 years.
In the initial stages of his career, some said that Messi is nothing without Xavi and Iniesta, then when Neymar arrived at Catalan giants, they said Neymar is the reason Messi scored the massive amount of goals. They all left Barcelona but it didn't stop Messi at any stage as he remained strong and continue to rule the football world.
In the past decade, Barcelona have won 289 games, which is the highest by any club in Europe and the primary reason for it is Lionel Andres Messi. During 2010 to 2019, Barcelona have only failed to win La Liga on three occasions: in the 2011/2012, 2013/2014 and 2016/2017 seasons, which is enough to prove how dominant a side in the La Liga they are. They have also claimed two Champions League trophies during this incredible run.
Messi only failed once to hit 50+ goal mark in the past decade and that was in 2013, he ended with 45 goals in that year. His five European golden shoes are the proof of his supremacy over his rivals.
The only blank space in Messi's glorious career is the place of an international trophy with Argentina. He came close thrice to win it big for Argentina in 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals but left empty-handed.
The most feared goal-scorer in the last decade was Cristiano Ronaldo and with him on your side, you are never out of the game. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner owned the decade alongside Messi to script it as the ‘Messi-Ronaldo Era’.
In the past decade, Ronaldo only failed three times to score 50 plus goals in a calendar year -- 2010, 2018 and 2019.
Real Madrid won three back-to-back UEFA Champions League (2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18), with Ronaldo leading the pack with goals and after his departure, they were eliminated in Round of 16 last season by Ajax. This proves how much impact he had on the Los Blancos. He was the goal supplier for the club but since he left, Madrid has not been up to the mark with the drought of goals in big matches.
Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018 for a new challenge at Juventus. In Turin, there has been a slight downfall in his game and his age (34) might be the factor behind it but his hunger for goals is still the same. He still wants to give his everything to win big trophies with Juventus because that's what he has done in his entire career: fight to be the best.
In the international front, Ronaldo guided Portugal to immense success as he led his country to European glory in 2016. Ronaldo also guided Portugal to become the inaugural UEFA Nations League Champion in 2019.
In the past decade, only few players came in Messi and Ronaldo’s way in their road to supremacy but in the end, the duo ended up at the top.
Some of the other prominent name in the last decade of football are
He is the one who broke the dominating streak of Messi and Ronaldo at the Ballon d’Or ceremony by collecting his maiden golden ball in 2018. Modric was the one who set-up the play for Ronaldo during his time at Real Madrid.
The Bayern Munich legend was a prized possession for the German club in last decade till his departure this season. He was close to winning Ballon d’Or in 2014 after completing treble with German giants but Ronaldo snatched his trophy with his dominating goal scoring record in that season.
It’s a shame that a great midfielder like Iniesta has never won a Ballon d’Or in his career as he was surely one of the prime reasons alongside Messi in Barcelona’s domination in the last decade. Iniesta left Barcelona in 2018 and they have still not been able to fill the gap of the Spanish midfield maestro.
He was projected to break the dominance of Messi and Ronaldo, but his hype got over when he decided to move to PSG in 2017. Neymar's injury woes at French giants pulled him down in the race to overcome the duo.
The decade has ended but Messi and Ronaldo aren't, as they still have enough left in their tank to continue their dominance in the upcoming years.