On a more subtle level, it’s important to remember the psychological aspect of the game as well. Messi’s and Ronaldo’s dominance doesn’t simply apply to the record books or stat sheets. It’s a palpable fear that runs through the veins of La Liga teams. Yet on the flipside invigorates their teammates, gifting them an air of confidence that they are already up 1-0 with a player like that in their side.
It’s an air of inevitability one that follows opposing defenses around, illuminating their frailties. Simply put, teams go into matches terrified. This manifests itself in many ways, changes in strategy, a loss of focus and often an overcompensating on the defensive side to deal with the two. Their sheer dominance in the league hangs like a dark cloud over their opponents; it’s a fear that compounds over time.
There is also this ridiculous notion that future stars will replicate their output, yet it’s hard to see where that argument holds weight. To be clear no one is saying that Madrid or Barcelona will fall off the wagon, so to speak. The clubs will continue to plunder the world’s top talents, many of whom will partially fill the gap, but the chances of anyone in the next couple of decades replicating the exploits of the famous duo are slim at best.