The 36-year-old Juventus superstar's incredible on-pitch rivalry with Messi has left fans, pundits and footballers divided over who is the best player of all time.
Ronaldo has enjoyed a glittering playing career during his prolific spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
And the Portuguese forward has carried over his success with Portugal, becoming the country's most-capped player and all-time top scorer.
Ronaldo, who lifted the Euro 2016 title with Portugal, kept his hopes of more silverware with his country alive after Fernando Santos' men qualified for the last 16 at Euro 2020.
Joining Lineker to preview Portugal's crucial clash with France on Wednesday was Ferdinand, who brought up Ronaldo's angry text over the Match of the Day presenter's preference of Messi.
Speaking on BBC, Ferdinand said: "It's a great example to young players and he uses negativity as fuel. You've [Lineker] said some things like your preference would be Messi out of the two.
"He will send me a text saying, 'I can't believe he said that, can't believe he's done that,' he just uses anything [as fuel].
"You think, he's done so much in his life, 'Why do you care about what anyone says about you? You know you're the guy.'
"It's the competitive nature. That's all it is. And you need that."
Lineker, 60, previously claimed that the ongoing debate over Messi vs Ronaldo is "not even close for me."
The former England international told BBC Sport in 2020: "People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them.
"Often the choice seems to come down to whether you support Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus or whoever, which is fine -- I understand that.
"I am a huge fan of Ronaldo too, but if you're talking about the best player ever, there shouldn't even be a debate that it is Messi.
"That's just my opinion, but it's not even close for me."
Ronaldo was in excellent form on Wednesday night as his brace ensured Portugal secured an important point in their 2-2 draw with France.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner also equalled former Iran striker Ali Daei's all-time international goalscoring record (109).
Ferdinand hailed Ronaldo as a "phenomenal football player," saying his former United teammate defied "logic."
The 42-year-old United legend explained: "After 30, we all sit in here, went down. He has gone on. Accelerated. Defies logic really.
"It's down to commitment, a little bit of luck genetically as well. But he's just a phenomenal football player, somebody who thinks of every little detail, aspect of the game to try to get every ounce of ability out of himself."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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