"It's like comparing Bali with Hawaii," wrote one user. "Both are paradise!" A frivolous analogy it might have been, but Lopo78's light-hearted comment summed up much of the debate sparked in the first of what is sure to be many FIFA.com 'Have Your Say' discussion topics.
The overall response was phenomenal. By yesterday afternoon CET,
over 25,000 words of publishable comments had been contributed by
hundreds of individual users, and the appetite for debate showed
little sign of waning as the week wore on.
Faced with choosing between the devastating dynamism of Kaka and the dazzling unpredictability of Ronaldinho, hundreds of fans agonised and prevaricated before, in most cases, declaring their allegiances in this all-Brazilian battle. One contributor to the English channel, eyqueminho, described it as "by far the hardest decision I've ever made when it comes to football".
'A true leader'
In the end, that particular user opted for Ronaldinho, citing the Barcelona star's vast array of tricks and flicks, yet he was to find himself in the minority as most of FIFA.com's football aficionados came out in favour of AC Milan's sought-after attacking midfielder. Brazilian user cianureto led the tributes on our Spanish channel: "I can declare without doubt that Kaka is the best player in the world at the moment. His speed with the ball, his intelligence and his ability to shoot on goal with both feet... all these characteristic make the difference."
"Kaka is the king," echoed mbazzo. "He is the master of simple, yet clinical soccer - with maximum efficiency."
There was a general acceptance, even among Kaka's many supporters, that Ronaldinho tends to be the more eye-catching of the two, with the AC Milan talisman only overcoming this by virtue of his consistency, efficiency and ability to rise to the big occasion with a decisive goal or assist. German user cristoph44 hailed the 25-year-old as "a true leader who guided Milan in great style to the Champions League title," while over on our French channel, Teriblo was equally effusive in his praise. "Both are great but Kaka is definitely on another planet," he wrote. "The main difference is that Kaka can win a game on his own."
There were also many of our users who admitted that, had this debate taken place two years ago, their answer would have been very different. This was evident, in fact, from the very first comment on the issue, which came from Norwegian user Nasirsaf, who wrote : "Ronaldinho isn't playing like he was before, whereas Kaka still plays like a hero".
"Ronaldinho was the best player in 2005/06, when Barcelona
won the Champions league," concurred
gregapenny, a fellow contributor to the English site.
"Since then his performance dropped and in 2006/07 Kaka was
the best without doubt. The difference between Kaka and Ronaldinho
is that Kaka is only getting better and better."
An all-time great
There were others, however, who stuck to the old adage that 'form is temporary, class is permanent' and put their faith in Barcelona's No10 to return to his brilliant best. Rororo, writing on our German channel, typed: "Ronaldinho is still and will remain the world's best player. Since Maradona, nobody has been as good as him." Spanish language user Robinsep went one step further, claiming that "not even Pele or Maradona can compare to the magic touch of Ronni".
Ronaldinho will also have taken comfort French user DJOKOUROUMA's description of him as "the last 'Mozart' in international football", while an Indian contributor, K. Ragupathy, claimed the Barca star's "total and complete football" gave him a "one per cent advantage" over his Canarinho colleague.
For many, however, the task of deciding between a maestro and a magician merely led them to the same conclusion as kevinguti: "Brazilian people are the luckiest in the world!" Indeed, it is fitting that in rounding up the reaction to this most hotly-debated of topics, the final word should go to a fellow countryman of the players in question. "Kaka makes me proud, Ronaldinho makes me smile," wrote Jonattan on our English channel. "But what can I say? I'm Brazilian, I'm totally satisfied!"