Soccer

Who will have a better year: Ronaldo, Messi or Suarez?

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Nick Andrade
8/18/2014 1:24:04 PM
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The debate between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's legacies has been ongoing for almost a decade. Both players are generational wizards who seem to amaze the football world every year. However, there is a new kid on the block looking to make their rivalry three-headed. Barcelona signed Luis Suarez for 75 million pounds from Liverpool in the off-season to add another star to the mix.

Who will have a better La Liga season: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez?

There were no surprises in who led the Primera Division in goals last season. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a league-best 31 with Lionel Messi not too far behind tallying 28. However, neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid won the La Liga title last year for the first time in nine seasons. Atletico Madrid took that honour. Both players had world class seasons, but they're looking to bring the trophy back to their respective clubs.

Last season was one of Ronaldo's most memorable years with Real. CR7 led Madrid to its first Champions League title in 14 years thanks to a record setting 17 goals in the tournament. He also led the club to their second Copa del Rey title in four years. The Portuguese international won the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award, dethroning Messi in the process, who had won the hardware for three-straight years.  Since joining Real Madrid in 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 252 goals in 246 overall competitions for the Spanish club. Of those, 177 have come in 165 La Liga matches.

Madrid's starting XI is arguably one of the best in the world, with the likes of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, as well as new signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos in the lineup. A squad with that talent can help bring the Portuguese international to another level. However, with such talented stars, can Ronaldo continue to be as dominant or will his production fall for the good of the team?

Lionel Messi didn't have as decorated a season as Ronaldo, but he is coming off a strong showing at the FIFA World Cup, something that Ronaldo couldn't emulate with Portugal. Although Messi's Argentina squad fell short to the Germans in extra time of the World Cup final, Leo won the Golden Ball, as the tournament's best player. The 27-year-old scored four goals in seven games and created a tournament-high 23 chances. His success on the world stage this summer could translate to an even more successful league season.

Since joining Barcelona's top squad in 2004-05 from their B team Lionel Messi has scored 243 goals in 277 La Liga matches, putting him just eight back of the all-time record of 251 goals set by Telmo Zarra from 1940 to 1955. By the end of the season, Messi will most likely be the all-time leading scorer in La Liga history and he's only 27. Last season, the Argentinian scored his lowest goal total since 2008-09, but he still commanded the pitch. However, with the likes of Suarez and Neymar also playing forward, will Barcelona's front line be too crowded for Messi to flourish? Or will a three pronged attack with a 4-3-3 system open the flood gates for Barca's number 10?

Luis Suarez is coming off a career year with the Reds. The 27-year-old won the Golden Boot in the Premier League last season with 31 goals while leading Liverpool to a second-place finish. Suarez added to his hardware collection winning the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year, becoming the first non-European to win the award. Will Suarez be able to put up the same numbers in Barcelona as he did in Liverpool? Suarez is still facing a four-month ban from FIFA after biting Giorgio Chiellini of Italy at the World Cup, so Camp Nou won't be able to see him play until the end of October. Although Suarez can now practice with the team, will he be match fit and ready when his ban is over?

Who can re-create their past successes this year, bring home the bigger hardware and have the better season: Ronaldo, Messi or Suarez?

As always it's Your! Call.

La Liga (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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