Welcome to the inaugural edition of a new segment we’ll be calling ‘HotFooty Debates’ (or at least until we come up with a better name). At least once a week the HotFooty guys will be discussing the most controversial topics on everyone’s mind in the soccer world. Brace yourself.

Hoff: Danny, Dice, who do you think is going to have the better international legacy when all is said and done, Messi or Ronaldo? And to be clear as the space between Ronaldo’s eyebrows, I’m talking about Messi if he retired after that brutally painful penalty miss against Chile versus Cristiano Ronaldo as of this very moment where he is likely Google mapping the locations of various audio equipment stores to practice throwing microphones. DEBATE.

Danny: For the record Hoffman I went undefeated in debate class beating Brian Levy in a final showdown of the two undefeated students on the last day of school. The topic was “The Electoral College: Outdated or Still Relevant?” So, this thing is over before it starts.

At the moment I feel like this conversation is bit premature because two more wins for Portugal in the Euros and we have a drastically different situation.

Messi announcing retirement immediately after a tough loss makes him look like a little boy. The least he could have done was take 7 days to make that announcement. So, that alone I feel spoils his legacy in a blue striped jersey. I don’t question the decision because I think the amount of extra international play puts an unnecessary amount of strain on the body at this point in his career. But make the decision like a man with a clear head. Let’s not be melodramatic.

Messi’s miss was in the Copa America Centenario….not the World Cup. A tournament I still do not understand the purpose of when it was played last year. So everyone needs to settle down there.

That being said Ronaldo single handedly has to carry his team. His complimentary forwards are not Higuain and Agüero they are Eder, SIlva, Quaresma…and Nani. 7 players on the Portuguese team play in Portugal’s Primeira Liga vs 4 players on Argentina who still play in their home country. Portugal’s squad feels grittier and more authentic. I think 80% of Argentina’s squad play on a different continent across the ocean. They are like senators who have a house in their home state but never leave D.C. Over half of Portugal’s team can drive from their Club to international practice. Madrid is under a 6hr drive to Lisbon. Barcelona to Buenos Aires is a 14 hr flight.

Ronaldo is Portugal. Messi is not Argentina.

Ronaldo is like the prosciutto and the bread in a panini. Messi is like the hand whipped garlic aioli. Messi makes the sandwich amazing and maybe the best sandwich you have ever had. But without Cristiano Ronaldo there is no sandwich. Without Messi you have a solid sandwich that will fill you up with delight.

Ronaldo is a leader. They all look up to him. Before PK’s against Poland the team was in an incomplete semicircle awaiting Ronaldo. He stepped in and they all embraced,leaned in and Ronaldo started screaming getting his boys jacked up. Messi does not have that in him; he leads by example on the field. Messi leads his team with action which is honorable and one can argue that it’s more effective.

Pardon me as I close with a LOTR reference: Ronaldo is Aragorn and Messi is Legolas.

So because of his importance to his squad and country and the outward emotion he displays in leading it, I think Cristiano Ronaldo has a better INTERNATIONAL legacy…as long as he doesn’t cry like a baby and quit if he loses during Euro 2016. If Portugal wins the Euros this whole argument is over.

Dice:

Danny huge shock you’re going with Ronaldo. Guy gets back from 10 days in Porto and he thinks he has inner circle status and a lifetime supply of dried and salted cod at the ready.

The evaluation of their psyches is nice and all but it’s useless. I cannot sit here and get inside Messi’s head after that copa loss. There was a 50% chance he quit the team within an hour, a 50% chance he’ll rescind that quit, then another 50% chance he’ll quit again in a month. Ronaldo has half a billion dollars, is the best at every single thing he does soccer, having yachts, ladies, eyebrow space, fashion (andrey arshavin close second). He has a museum for himself. No one can wrap their heads around what goes on in his head it’s unprecedented. He winks and entire flocks of human beings fall over.

Based solely on international soccer merit using an mvp style approach given neither has won a thing, the edge goes to Ronaldo and it’s not close. For 2014 World Cup qualification Portugal didn’t qualify automatically out of the group stage and had to play in a playoff against Sweden and Zlatan. Lose and no World Cup for Portugal. Spoiler alert Ronaldo scored all 4 of his team’s goals and they went through. No point in counterfactuals where Messi didn’t have as good a supporting cast.

Ronaldo has also stated he fully intends on playing through the 2022 World Cup. If he says it I’ll believe it. Again, not trying to get inside the head of a man who has built a large structure dedicated to the housing of all things celebrating Ronaldo.

Danny:

In the words of John Adam’s “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” I am glad to see Dice’s facts support my conclusion.

Cristiano is committed to his squad and bleeds red and green.

For most lovers of sport (not fanatics) when you look back on the legends it’s mostly about romance. So their perceived “psyches” is a big part of that. If Tiger didn’t let his “P-Wedge” get in the way we would have thought he was the Dalai Lama.

Now I am going to slide into my CR7 loafers and drive my ferrari to Caiscais! Ever heard of it? Probably not. Cristiano holler back you left your cocoa butter in my carry on I’ll drop it off at your place and thanks for being cool about me taking Irina out for dinner. Peace!

Hoff: Wow. That was a veritable Ronaldo love fest. Jay I’m not surprised with. Dan, I think there’s some recency bias at play here. Nothing more to say here because you guys agree with each other, but Dan, please don’t start waxing your face and body like Ronaldo. Lord forgive us all if that starts happening. I think if Messi drilled that penalty and won the Copa your tune would be changed, Danny. Or if you had just gotten back from Buenos Aires. You’d be singing about tattoo sleeves and tax evasion, but alas, the little maestro missed, you buy a hat in Porto and here we are.