I would say that when they competed against each other they were very similar in terms of talent but Yagudin may have been packaged better, especially at the Olympics in 2002. I would credit this to his move to Tarasova. Both he and Zhenya were good jumpers (a testament to Mishin) but I think Tarasova's choreography made the difference in terms of people's perception of the two. I also would characterize both as "choking under pressure" at times during their early years but growing into fierce competitors as their careers progressed. I think Plushenko had the better overall career because of his longevity at a high level but in terms of who was the better skater taking longevity and coaching out and I think you have a toss up. I do think having each other as a rival helped to significantly elevate the skating of them both however.