Zidane vs Ronaldinho

Well. Two of the best attacking midfield players in history, Zidane and Ronaldinho both brought their own brand of football, unique only to themselves which showed the world that there is more than one way playing the beautiful game.

Zidane showed the whole world how one can become the greatest midfield player of all time by not going down the same route as 20 thousand other people do, that is strength, speed and cheat in order to muscle out the opponent, outwit the opponent (though he did it, in a different way) or out run the opponent.

Ronaldinho on the other hand showed the world that it was possible to play like you want to play as a child and still be one of the best of your generation. The variety in his game (in both player’s game) was incredible.

I mean now a days, you see Messi (I know he is some player) shredding grass down the right with his left foot, cutting inside. Doing the same thing again and again, beating defenders as if they were stationary cardboard figures and scoring goals after goals.

Albeit, great for Barcelona fans, but admit it, not much variety in what he does in his general game play. Whereas on the other side you got Ronaldo. Who seems to learn new tricks and flicks every game and tries to impose them on the play rather than wait for the appropriate situation.

Sometimes it feels like Ronaldo does not really care (or rather, does not really know) what the defender is doing, all he cares is that, he has to execute the new trick he learnt regardless of actually thinking about the outcome of that trick. If it works it works and if it does then…well..it doesn’t.

Zidane and Ronaldinho were both the kind of players that they knew what they were doing on the field. They did not just learn the tricks and executed them. They learnt on the field and evolved, many of their dribbles are not the ones you can work on in the training field.

Most of their dribbles are some variant of the standard ones. Like everybody knows how to do a elastico (where you take a ball with your dominant foot and in one motion move it from right to left or left to right (if you are a left footed player) but why was Ronaldinho’s elastico so effective.

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Because he did not execute it the same way time and time again. He changed it little by little, which was enough to off put the defender, whereas I have hardly seen C.Ronaldo (known for his tricks) actually beat a player with an elastico.

He may have executed an elastico on a defender but that always seems to be for the cameras rather than to beat the defender, he always uses his pace to beat defenders. Messi is a bit more, ADJUSTING. He also looks at the variables that are present on the field not the ones he had in training and then according evolves his dribbles.

He looks for mistakes in the defenders stance or his balance. Looks at where the defender has given him that extra layer of thin air and then slides the ball across him to leave him in his dust, but he has only one or two ways of doing that. Whereas Zidane and Ronaldinho, had I don’t know how many ways of doing the same thing.

That is what made their careers so illustrious though Ronaldinho sort of started late. I mean Ronaldinho was not a whizkid who scored 40 or 50 goals in a season (He never did that actually) like Ronaldo or Messi, but when he did get into his groove, say like in his middle 20s then he showed the world a totally different brand of football.

He did some moves which were never seen before. Some people thought he got them made from heaven well others thought, well it was just pure brilliance. Ronaldinho and Zidane, basically had every trick in the book (and some more) but you cannot really say the same for C.Ronaldo and Messi though both are scoring way more goals then both of the former greats ever did.

But how do they do against each other. Zidane and Ronaldinho. Both are legends, both had great potential. The level of their forms were the level of potential for most other players playing in their positions. Well, lets have a look at who is better between the two of them by looking at different statistics.

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I am going to mark according to the level they played at, at their peaks because both of them have basically passed it. Zidane has retired while, Ronaldinho now, has surely passed it, was not even called up for the world cup for whatever reason (by the way, I do think that was unjustified move by Dunga). Anyway, here goes:


I think they were both capable of making good crosses but Ronaldinho gets this one for me, his consistency was more than Zidane, may be it was the system they both played under, in their peaks (by the way, Zidane’s peak lasted way way longer than Ronaldinho’s) and also because Ronaldinho played as a winger many more times than Zidane.

Zidane could also make some really good ones but he just did not get himself into that situation often enough, because he did not need to.

Ronaldinho actually,also became known for making wonderful crosses and lobbed passes.


Draw. I think it is a draw. Both could finish well better than C.Ronaldo and Messi in my opinion. Ronaldinho probably could be given the edge considering the type of goals he scored, again because of the positions and situations he had at Barcelona, he actually had chances to finish a move.

Zidane,wasmore of a creator rather than a scorer but did score goals and some beautiful goals.


Zidane for sure. Ronaldinho has a pretty average header but Zidane could head the ball (and some people too) really well. Zidane also scored in the World Cup against Brazil through a header, in fact I think he scored two of those.

Also his goal in his last match for Real Madrid, both home and away, scored some beautiful headed goals.


I think for long passes Ronaldinho wins it and for short passes Zidane wins it. For through balls, I think Zidane edges it, in terms of the consistency and the weight of the pass. Ronaldinho sometimes made some magicall through balls but put a bit too much spin on them.

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Ronaldinho’s long passes were probably better. At Barcelona, he made some good quality lobbed passes throughout his career there. One that comes to mind was the brilliant pass he made to Guily I think in the Champions League against AC Milan.

Weak foot:

This one goes to Zidane for sure. Ronaldinho used his left foot way way less than Zidane. In fact, Ronaldinho used the outside of his right foot more just to avoid his left foot. He did score some magnificent goals with the left foot as well but Zidane’s were more brilliant and more consistent.

Zidane could also pass the ball really well with the left foot too.

But I have seen Zidane score goals from the half way line with his left foot which for me, was the ultimate goal which led to me believing that he was a true two footed player. He did not just have a swinger like C.Ronaldo’s or Ronaldinho’s, he had a proper left foot, but even his left foot had some weaknesses at some angles.

His miss while playing for Real Madrid will always be remembered when he beat a defender with a 360 after a one two with Ronaldo, then beat the keeper with his right foot but missed the goal. Had he used his left foot there, I think he could have scored a magnificent goal.


Zidane. For sure. His volley in the Champions League final against Bayern Leverkusen is more than enough to show that he could volley the ball really well. By the way, that volley was also from a left foot.

He scored numerous goals from volleys throughout his career with Real Madrid. I don’t remember Ronaldinho scoring a goal with a volley. Oh wait, he did, this season in fact (that is 2009-2010 season) against Manchester United. Though the ball took a huge deflection, he hit a pretty good volley.

Sad AC Milan lost that tie badly, when Manchester United beat them something like 4-0 at Old Trafford.


Tie. I think it is a tie. Ronaldinho had quick feet and so did Zidane. Both beatplayerseasily.ZidaneIthinkwasmore

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  1. says

    Several world football scholars, argued that Ronaldinho is better than Zidanne, Messi and Cristiano, but however it is difficult to compare retired (Ronaldinho and Zidane) and present (Messi and Ronaldo) players together, so it will make sense to compare Ronaldinho and Zidane together and Messi and Christiano together. If the comparison stands like that, I will choose Ronaldinho ( "THE GREAT") rather than Zidane, and Messi ( "THE LION KING") than Ronaldo.

  2. jack'o mo says

    No football players had ever got the grace,the class and the intelligence reunited like that. Zidane was an aggressive attacking midfielder and was always a key leader in all the teams he played That’s why Zidane will still the legend of legend. Just check this video to see how complete he was : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7mXGMcpA0g he was magical.
    We miss you so much Zizou

  3. FootyFanatic says

    Did you say Zidane’s/Ronaldinho’s finishing is better than Messi’s? Puhlease!! Zidane could NOT even 20 goals one season, Messi scores 72. Zidane Vs Ronaldinho dribbling, a draw? Really? Zidane can sit down on this one, he had a world class first touch and a knack to control the tempo, but dribbling?Nah!!

    Remember Ronaldinho took Barca to new heights by himself, he did not have Carlos, Figo, Beckham, Raul in his team. ZZ is still in my top 5 but I would pick Ronaldinho in his prime over Messi, NOT just ZZ. The only low of his career is it did not last for a few more years, otherwise, we would not even have this argument.

  4. Ddddddddddzeew says

    so biased to zidane.dribling tie? dinho past players  frequently and zzidane relies on teammates so much.first touch?ronni could control or first touch it with his spine dribling a player straight away zidane could only dream

  5. Caba_pinturichio_leone says

    And how come is there a tie in dribbling? Ronaldinho regularly went past multiple players. Zidane could dribble great, no doubt, but his main strength was ball retention.

  6. John says

    In ball control is hard to say who’s better. Zidane wins by a country mile? I don’t think so. And for the record I rate Cassano and Maradona’s first touch better then the 2(and maybe even Bergkamp).

  7. GMutoro says

    i think the prsentation was biased favouring Zidane but still he is the best what dismissed Zidane at the end was indispline

  8. Albertisrael88 says

    ronaldinho and zidane are two great legends no doubt,but i think at their various peak,ronaldinho is a better match decider. 

  9. Carlo says

    This article is so out of reality!. Nevertheless, both of them were great players although not even close to Pele, Maradona and Messi!.