Ballon d’Or: Power Ranking the 23 Finalists

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Jun 22, 2014; Manaus, Amazonas, BRAZIL; Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo (7) carries the ball during their 2014 World Cup game against the United States at Arena Amazonia. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


2. Lionel Messi, Argentina, FC Barcelona

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Real Madrid

For a long while, Messi was a hump Ronaldo couldn’t get over. No matter how great Ronaldo was, Messi was just a step better. Last season, Ronaldo finally cleared that hurdle, and now there’s no turning back.

To say these two are a step above the competition would be a vast understatement. The gap between this duo and everyone else is staggering. Messi’s 40 goals between club and country in 2013-14 is mesmerizing, but Ronaldo’s 49 goals for club and country were even better.

When discussing these two, club and country success play big factors. Madrid won both the Champions League and Copa Del Rey, while Barcelona managed no trophies. Messi makes up for it by the fact his country made it to the World Cup finals, his four goals and an assist in seven games were vital. However, it should be noted that none of his goals came in the knockout rounds.

Even if he only scored in the group stages, it was better than Ronaldo, who put up just one goal and one assist, the goal coming in the meaningless final game for Portugal against Ghana.

However, his 2014 World Cup flop has bee more than made up for by his indescribable start to this season, having already cleared the 20-goal mark.

This time around, Ronaldo comes one step closer to catching up with Messi.