Messi vs. Ronaldo: One Rivalry, Two GOATs, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063157170. $29.99. SPORTS
Some individuals on the world stage have had so much fame or influence that they become known by only one name. Two current soccer competitors—Messi and Ronaldo—have achieved that status. The Wall Street Journal sports writers who coauthored The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports, Robinson and Clegg argue that the soccer stars’ fame is intertwined—that Messi without Ronaldo or Ronaldo without Messi would not have become the superstar they are today. While loads of information can be found on either player, this book takes a unique approach. Their stories, including their beginnings, training, and growth into superstardom are told side-by-side, not so that a comparison can be made (although that is a wonderful debate), but to clearly show how their influences have worked together to improve soccer and make it more visible on the world stage. Their playing styles, temperament, and physical traits are vastly different, but that’s motivated each to become better.
VERDICT This work is a unique, simple, entertaining piece of writing. It belongs on the shelves of all libraries that serve sports fans.
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