Messi vs. Ronaldo. It’s an age-old debate even though the rivalry has only truly been around for maybe eight years. However, it’s a rivalry nonetheless that divides even the closest of friends and family, and can ignite a debate as hot as a liberal and conservative arguing over politics.

You can tell a lot about a person and their knowledge of the beautiful game by which player they believe to be superior. I say that because there is a right answer. This should never be a debate.

You can get into the nitty gritty statistics, and those stats might tell you a different story depending on the frame of time at which you’re looking. There have been seasons where Ronaldo was the superior player in goals and minutes played and whatever other statistic you think is important. And there have been seasons when Messi defies logic and reason. But what you don’t see as a casual player or viewer is the details. The minutia. The subtleties of the game that only someone who has lived, breathed, and bled for the love of the game could see.

When I look at a professional baseball player, I see an overweight man standing around for three hours. Occasionally he’ll jog into the dugout, or if you’re lucky, you may even see him sprint 90 feet to first base. But deep down I’m not ignorant enough to believe that’s the true game. There are qualities that aren’t skin deep, but in the muscle and bone, qualities only someone who has spent considerable time with the game can see and appreciate. It’s those same, subtle qualities that make Messi the greatest player in the world, hands down.

This is usually the part of an opinion piece where you provide examples, but for me, I can’t. The reason – you wouldn’t understand them.

Don’t take that personally. I’m only reinforcing the notion that it’s difficult to describe without numbers how good an athlete is, because we’ve been groomed to do just that our entire life. How many rings does he have? How many yards has he passed for? How many goals does he have? We’re a people who have taken the easy route to make decisions based on arbitrary numbers. Messi and Ronaldo have comparable stats, and Ronaldo is superior in some areas, but you can spin almost any statistic to work for your argument, which is what a lot of Ronaldo fans do. But those same fans don’t know the game. Just like I don’t know baseball.

Messi. Ronaldo. I could go on and on about these two and why Messi is the superior player, but I think someone more qualified than me has already done my work for me: