Looking forward to 2017: The sports desk's wishes

To see Messi and Ron on same side

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo playing for the same team would be fun, riveting and controversial but it will work because their egos will ensure it does.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo playing for the same team would be fun, riveting and controversial but it will work because their egos will ensure it does. PHOTOS: AFP

What's better than Nadal and Federer on the same side of the court, LeBron and Curry passing to each other, or Bolt and Gatlin in the same relay foursome?

Ronaldo and Messi playing for the same team in 2017.

It will be fun, it will be riveting, it will be controversial but it will work because their egos will ensure it does. They will mug defenders, hoodwink rivals and their best goal-scoring days together will be known as CriMe sprees.

Ronaldo fans will learn to cheer for Messi and Messi fans for Ronaldo. That itself is a victory. Of course, when the Ballon d'Or voting comes around, everyone will fall out again.

"It would be interesting to see both of us in the same team," Ronaldo told France Football recently. "I think great players should play together."

He is right. Sport is used to genius versus genius, for competitiveness pushes athletes to outdo each other. Magic Johnson wanted to beat Larry Bird, Jack Nicklaus hunted Arnold Palmer, all of them incited by the most basic challenge: I am better than you.

But once in a while, genius should team up. Ronaldo's speed plus Messi's close control, Ronaldo's aerial skill plus Messi's vision. Imagine that. Ronaldo might lend Messi some gel and introduce him to his designer; Messi might teach Ronaldo how to pass. Both can discuss tax lawyers off the field. On it they could turn a duel into a duet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'To see Messi and Ron on same side'. Print Edition | Subscribe