A LOOK BACK: Picking between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has always been an impossible task, but in 2015 Sir Alex Ferguson summed up the debate perfectly
The Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo debate is as old of time.
Nine times out of ten, it sees someone with a connection to either Manchester United,Real Madrid or Juventus naming Ronaldo.
And someone with a connection to Barcelona naming Messi.
Former Barcelona stars Gary Lineker and Ronaldinho, for example, are very much in the Messi camp, and have previously sang the Argentine’s praises in the press.
“He’s just phenomenal,” Lineker told talkSPORT. “He’s 31 now and he’s still going strong. He plays the game in a way the rest of us are not familiar with.
“I watch a lot of football, and people pine on this whole Messi vs Ronaldo debate; there’s no comparison for me.”
“Messi is on a different level to everybody else, it’s as simple as that. People say to me what about Ronaldo’s goalscoring record and so forth? But I say to them have you seen Messi pass a football? Have you seen him dribble towards goal?”
Ronaldinho, meanwhile, said, via Goal: “Messi. I would have loved to continue playing alongside him. I didn’t get enough time with him, he was very young. I’d love to take to the pitch with him one more time.”
La Liga chief Javier Tebas has also previously heaped praise on the Argentine, telling Omnisport: “Messi is part of Barcelona and he will stay there. We consider him part of La Liga and he transcends what a normal player is.
“For us he is a La Liga icon, the most important footballer at a global level who has played in our competition, he’s above everyone.
“I’m a Real Madrid fan but not recognising Messi is going to be the best player in history is not knowing football.”
While Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who has no connection to either player said: “I’m going to go with Messi on this on pure, natural talent but what Ronaldo has done has been absolutely incredible.”
Those who consider Ronaldo to be the better player include his former Real Madrid team-mate Mesut Ozil, who revealed his stance on Twitter a few years ago.
Former Manchester United stars Roy Keane and Michael Owen have also picked Ronaldo over Messi in the past, with the latter telling BT Sport: “Goalscoring is the hardest art in football and [Ronaldo] makes it look so easy. Head, left foot, right foot.
“Messi is a decent header of a ball but if you’re looking at all-round players, you go head-to-head with Messi and Ronaldo, you’d say Ronaldo has a lot more different attributes let’s say.
“He’s probably always been quicker, right foot, left foot and header of a ball.
“I think Messi is outstanding in certain attributes but as an all-round physique, Ronaldo is such an all-round player.”
Sir Alex Ferguson obviously has a strong link to Ronaldo, given that he was arguably the greatest player to ply his trade under the Scot.
But when the legendary United boss was asked by 1991 world snooker champions John Parrott to pick between the duo back in 2015, he provided the perfect response.
“People say who is the best player in the world? And plenty of people quite rightly say Messi – you can’t dispute that opinion,” explained Ferguson.
“But Ronaldo could play for Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers… anyone, and score a hat-trick in a game. I’m not sure Messi could do it.
“Ronaldo’s got two feet, he’s quick, great in the air, he’s brave – Messi’s brave, of course. I think Messi’s a Barcelona player.”