Prior to the EURO 2012 competition, a lot of pundits elucidated that the performance of the Real Madrid striker and Portuguese captain, Cristiano Ronaldo in EURO 2012 would be a major player in determining his prospect of becoming the next FIFA World Best Player by next year. According to these football polymaths, Ronaldo had a point to prove in EURO 2012 competition.
Obviously, the Portuguese forward really should have had a lot more to prove in their EURO 2012 semi-final match against Spain after his spectacular performances against the Netherlands and Czech Republic, because the better Ronaldo played and the deeper he led Portugal through the EURO 2012 matches, the more people brought up that diminutive nemesis from Argentina.
Lionel Messi was not even playing in the EURO 2012 tournament and Ronaldo could not avoid the guy. Some believed that if Ronaldo had contrived to pull his country out of the enormous Iberian shadow cast by Spain, he might have finally been able to cast his own shadow over the world's best players, including Messi.
At just 25 years old, many already regard Messi as one of the two greatest players in the history of the sport, alongside Pele.
Where does that leave Ronaldo then? Can a player be one of the greats of all time if he isn't even the best living player of his generation? Can Ronaldo, just 27 years old, somehow surpass Messi to cement his legacy as the best of this generation, and one of the greats of all time?
Beating Spain to get to the EURO 2012 Final would have been a good start and also a Launchpad to better his chances of triumphing over the Barcelona talisman, Messi for the FIFA World Best Title.
Nevertheless, many still believe that Ronaldo distinguished himself and lived up to expectation. They further believe that he really put up a superlative performance in the EURO 2012 tournament that should earn him the FIFA World Best Title.
Whenever people compare Messi with the greats in history, the only knock on him is that he hasn't led his country to a major international title.
Ronaldo is in that category as well, and had a chance in the EURO 2012 tournament to be the first to break through with a trophy for his country but, he blew it. While the EURO Cup is not the World Cup, it is however, a huge tournament with a global stature.
Some opined that winning a prestigious tournament (EURO 2012) in the same season he led his team over Messi's to take the Spanish league title would have without doubt put Ronaldo ahead of Messi in the race to be the world best player.
Some football analysts have argued that Ronaldo should have been the Portuguese talisman in their semi-final match against Spain, as people expected him to prove his worth just as he did in their matches against Netherlands and Czech Republic.
They maintained that he would have put his chance of taking the FIFA World Title from Messi in a clear state of certainty if he had stood out and led his country to EURO final.
Meanwhile, it is said that the quest for the world's best living player cannot be decided in just one year. In all competitions last year, Messi finished last season with 77 goals in 70 games for club and country. Whereas, Ronaldo secured 71 goals in 64 matches, both averaging more than one goal per match.
Yet, for most of their careers, neither of them has been able to reproduce that magic for their countries. Both Portugal and Argentina have deep pools of world-class talents, and while Portugal has been close in major competitions before losing in the 2004 EURO Cup final and finishing in fourth in the 2006 World Cup, Argentina hasn't even been past the quarterfinals at either of the last two World Cups with Messi.
In EURO 2012, Ronaldo was spectacular against the Netherlands to advance Portugal out of the group stage. He was dominant against the Czechs, with eight shots, including the game-winning header in the 79th minute. Sadly, he was not able to replicate this miraculous feat against Spain.
However, some still believe Portugal were very impressive in EURO 2012 and should be proud of their feat. Portugal had never been the favourite team to win EURO 2012 trophy, and even, nobody believed that they would get to the stage they attained in the competition.
Portugal shocked the whole world when they put up a tough fight against Spain and eventually brought them down to the wire. Ultimately, Spain beat Portugal to qualify for final through penalty shoot-out.