Gary Lineker explained real reason there's 'no comparison' in Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate
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Gary Lineker once weighed in on the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate and managed to effortlessly put the argument to bed.
Ask anyone’s opinion on the Ronaldo vs Messi debate and they’ll probably have a solid hypothesis with facts and statistics ready and roaring to go. Whether it’s Ronaldo’s 834 all-time career goals that set him ahead or Messi’s stunning 72-minute goal contribution average — the preference divides fans, pundits and celebrities alike.
However, Match of the Day host and former-footballer Lineker has previously argued that there is no real comparison between the pair.
Despite Ronaldo having more Champions League goals to his name and Messi topping the leaderboard in terms of assists, Lineker said that it isn’t accolades that make the latter superior. Instead, he believes Messi’s sheer talent behind the ball is what crowns him as the worthy winner.
Touching on the debate back in 2019, Lineker told talkSPORT that Messi: “Is just phenomenal. He’s 31 now (Messi is now 35) 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?”
However, this isn’t the most recent time that Lineker has picked sides in the Ronaldo vs Messi debate.
During BBC World Cup coverage in Qatar, Lineker told Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer that Ronaldo has refused to speak to him in the past due to his allegiance to Messi.
“I can tell you from my own experience that if you harbour the opinion that Lionel Messi is the better footballer, then he doesn’t want to speak to you,” Lineker said while covering Portugal vs South Korea.
“That’s okay,” he added. “I understand that even though I have adored watching his career. He’s an incredible footballer but a bit touchy on that particular subject
Since Lineker declared his side in 2019, Messi has gone on to lead Argentina to their 15th Copa America title, lift the FIFA World Cup and also win the Finalissima for the second time. Elsewhere, he helped PSG lift the Trophée des Champions for the 11th time and claimed his seventh Ballon d’Or in 2021.
Ronaldo on the other hand helped Juventus lift the Supercoppa Italiana for the ninth time in 2020 and in the same year was awarded the UEFA European Championship Golden Boot. He was also given the FIFA Best Special Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in 2021.