Lionel Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo: The debate between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has been going on for almost 15 years, with people having different opinions about who is better. Both players have been amazing, and it’s hard to say who is superior.
Recently, the Daily Mail compiled a list of football legends—great players and managers—who shared their thoughts on Ronaldo and Messi. The consensus is that Messi is the preferred choice among these legends.
Lionel Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo
Here are 20 football legends and what they had to say when choosing between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
1. Pele: Ronaldo
King Pelé, expressed his current view on the Ronaldo vs. Messi debate. He declared,
“Today, the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo,” Pelé explained that he considers Ronaldo the best because of his consistency. However, he also acknowledged Messi’s excellence, highlighting that Messi is not a striker, but his skills are remarkable too.
2. Diego Maradona: Messi
Maradona, a big fan of Ronaldo, still holds loyalty to his fellow countryman Messi. He mentioned,
“I don’t remember seeing Messi play badly.” Despite his preference for Messi, Maradona acknowledged Ronaldo’s exceptional abilities, describing him as an “animal” on the field. He believes football history will remember Messi, emphasizing the immense contributions football has given to Messi.
3. Paul Scholes: Messi
Scholes, who played alongside Ronaldo for six years at Manchester United, acknowledges Ronaldo’s brilliance but believes Messi is a superior all-round footballer. Scholes expressed,
“Messi is the best, but Ronaldo is brilliant.” He praised Ronaldo for his sensational abilities, including pace, power, goal-scoring, and free kicks. However, Scholes emphasized Messi’s versatility, describing him as having “absolutely everything” as a footballer.
4. David Beckham: Messi
Beckham once shared his admiration for both Messi and Ronaldo but leaned towards Messi. He said,
“They both have incredible skills, making football better with their talent. However, Messi is just the best in the world.” Beckham emphasized Messi’s exceptional class, stating that finding another player like him is impossible. Despite recognizing Ronaldo’s greatness, Beckham placed Messi and Ronaldo at the pinnacle, with Messi being his top choice.
5. Zinedine Zidane: Ronaldo
Zinedine Zidane, who coached Ronaldo during their successful run at Real Madrid, chose Ronaldo over Messi, citing Ronaldo as the best. Zidane acknowledged the intense rivalry between the two, stating,
“Cristiano is the best. Messi is his rival, and that’s the rivalry everyone wants to see.” Zidane went on to describe Ronaldo as phenomenal, expressing that there are no words to fully capture his greatness. Despite Zidane’s own impressive career, he believes Ronaldo is the greatest of all time.
6. Kylian Mbappe: Ronaldo
Mbappe, who considered Ronaldo one of his idols, confessed to frequently changing his preference in the Ronaldo vs. Messi debate. He said,
“From one year to the next, my choice changes between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, although I must admit to having chosen Ronaldo more often. I loved him when I was younger.” Mbappe acknowledged the dynamic nature of his preference, reflecting the common dilemma many football fans face when comparing these two legendary players.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Messi
Zlatan Ibrahimovic initially believed he was the greatest player until he played and trained with Messi at Barcelona. He admitted,
“I think Messi is one of a kind. What he does, I don’t know if we’ll see another player do what he does.” Ibrahimovic pointed out the uniqueness of Messi’s abilities. In contrast, he mentioned Ronaldo, noting that Ronaldo’s greatness is the result of intense training and hard work, contrasting it with Messi’s seemingly natural talent.
8. Ronaldinho: Messi
Ronaldinho first spoke about Messi in 2005, and at the time, many thought he was being too modest. He expressed his admiration, saying,
“Messi! I would have loved to continue playing alongside him. I didn’t have enough time with him; he was very young. I would love to take the field with him one more time. He is without a doubt the best in history. Nobody has done what Messi has done.” Ronaldinho acknowledged that Ronaldo is a complete player with exceptional skills, but he clarified that it’s a matter of personal preference, and he personally favors Messi’s style.
9. Roberto Carlos: Ronaldo
Roberto Carlos, being both Brazilian and having strong ties with Real Madrid, naturally considers Ronaldo better. He commented,
“I watch him Cristiano train every day, and the way he works is exciting.” The legendary left-back highlighted Ronaldo’s commitment to improvement every day, emphasizing his training, professionalism, concentration, motivation, and success. While acknowledging Messi as a phenomenon, Roberto Carlos pointed out that Ronaldo’s dedication gives him an advantage over everyone else.
10. Wayne Rooney: Messi
Despite forming an incredible duo with Ronaldo during their time at Manchester United, former England captain Wayne Rooney has consistently stated that he believes Messi is the best footballer of all time. Rooney expressed his view, saying,
“Messi. I think I’ve said it before, but they’re probably the two best players to ever play. I just think Messi is, in my eyes, the greatest of all time.” Rooney has consistently given his preference to Messi in the ongoing debate between the two football legends.
11. Steven Gerrard: Messi
Steven Gerrard recently expressed his preference for team players over individuals, citing this as the reason he would choose Messi over Ronaldo. He explained,
“There are certain players who are at a different level to anyone else, Messi and Ronaldo. But Ronaldo is not on my team. What will we achieve together? Ronaldo will win things for you, but I’m more of a team player than an individual player, so I’ll always follow that path.” Gerrard emphasized his inclination towards players who contribute to the team as a whole, aligning with Messi’s style of play.
12. Angel Di Maria: Messi
Angel Di Maria, who had the privilege of playing with both Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi, expressed his admiration for Messi, believing that Messi is on another level. Di Maria reflected on the dream-like experience of playing with such football icons, mentioning,
It was a dream to have the opportunity to play with Rooney, Ibrahimovic, Cristiano, Leo… they were players I used on PlayStation, and I wouldn’t have never imagined that I could play with them.” Di Maria concluded by stating, “Leo is the best of the four,” expressing his belief that Messi stands out among these exceptional players.
13. Iker Casillas: Ronaldo
Iker Casillas, one of the best goalkeepers of all time and a former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, sided with Ronaldo in the ongoing debate. Casillas expressed his preference, stating,
“I would choose Cristiano over Messi because he is a player who gives us so much every season and he is a player who I spend time with every day.” Casillas emphasized the personal connection he had with Ronaldo and the consistent impact Ronaldo had on the team throughout the seasons.
14. Luis Suarez: Messi
Luis Suarez, in choosing his friend Messi over Ronaldo, expressed,
“It is true that Ronaldo won those trophies, but for me, there is no question that Leo is the best player in the world. Whether or not he wins that prize, he is the best player by far. He has more of an effect on the game than anyone else.
” Suarez emphasized Messi’s impact on the game, considering him the best player, regardless of individual awards.
15. Ronaldo Nazario: Messi
Ronaldo Nazario, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid in his impressive career, thinks Messi is the best all-around player.
According to him,
“Messi is extraordinary. Cristiano is great too, but I see Messi as more well-rounded. I prefer Messi over any other player. Everything he does is amazing.”
16. Sir Alex Ferguson: Ronaldo
Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary former manager of Manchester United, expressed his admiration for both Messi and Ronaldo but highlighted a distinction in their playing styles. Ferguson stated,
“Now don’t get me wrong, Messi is a fantastic player, it’s like he’s wearing slippers when he controls the ball.” However, he pointed out a perceived difference, saying, “But here, for me, is the difference. Messi is a Barcelona player. But Ronaldo could play for Stockport County and score a hat-trick. He just wanted to be the best in the world.” Ferguson emphasized Ronaldo’s versatility and goal-scoring ability, suggesting that Ronaldo’s skills would shine in any team, regardless of its level, showcasing his desire to be the best globally.
17. Marco van Basten: Messi
Marco van Basten, one of the most talented strikers in football history, expressed a firm belief in Messi’s unique talent. He commented,
“Cristiano is a great player, but those who say he is better than Messi know nothing about football, or they say it in bad faith.” Van Basten described Messi as one of a kind, impossible to imitate or repeat, suggesting that a player like him comes along every 50 or 100 years. His remarks underline the extraordinary nature of Messi’s skills in van Basten’s view.
18. Fabio Capello: Messi
Fabio Capello, who witnessed Messi’s talent firsthand when he shone against Juventus at just 16 years old, expressed his admiration for both Ronaldo and Messi. Capello attempted to sign Messi immediately after that friendly match but was unsuccessful. He commented,
“Ronaldo is an extraordinary footballer, but Messi is a genius.” Capello went on to mention three football geniuses: Pelé, Maradona, and Messi. While acknowledging Ronaldo’s strength in helping teams win, Capello emphasized Messi’s genius and labeled him as the best player.
19. Diego Simeone as Messi
Diego Simeone, the coach of Atletico Madrid, acknowledged the success both Messi and Ronaldo have had against his team over the years. Simeone admitted that, for a normal team, he would choose Ronaldo over Messi, as Ronaldo might fit in better with normal players. However, Simeone clarified his preference, saying,
“If I had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo, I would probably choose Messi. But with Messi, surrounded by great players, Messi is better than Ronaldo.” Simeone’s view suggests that Messi’s performance is enhanced when surrounded by top-quality teammates, making him the preferred choice in a team with exceptional players.
20. Jurgen Klopp: Messi
Klopp summed it up with this quote:
“I have only one selfie on my phone, and it’s with Messi. Cristiano was also in the room.”