Former English international Wayne Rooney has today weighed in on the age-old debate of Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi. With one comes the other.
For the last decade+, fans across the globe have argued at length as to which of football’s most iconic names can consider himself the world’s best.
Ronaldo and Messi have of course defined a generation, with the almost-inconceivable consistency with which the pair have found the net over the course of their respective careers unlikely to ever be matched again.
Silverware, both individual and at club level, have also followed, with a staggering 11 Ballon d’Ors (advantage Messi) and 9 Champions League crowns (advantage Ronaldo) shared between the Argentine and Portuguese superstars.
Most would argue that it is Messi who is not only the superior talent, but quite possibly the most gifted footballer to ever grace the pitch.
Those in favour of Ronaldo, on the other hand, point to the former Real Madrid man’s relentless desire to improve, as well as his almost freak-like athleticism.
‘The different things in his game’
While a definitive answer on the debate of Messi vs Ronaldo will never be forthcoming, though, with the argument an entirely subjective one, among figures at the very top of the game, both past and present, the majority tend to opt for the former over Portugal’s all-time leading goalscorer.
And, as outlined above, the latest one-time world-class performer to have provided his backing to Barcelona’s talisman is Wayne Rooney.
Former Manchester United star Rooney of course played alongside Ronaldo during a fruitful stint together at Old Trafford, when the Red Devils attacking duo terrorised opposing backlines between 2003 and 2009.
However, despite his ‘friendship’ with his former teammate, Rooney has admitted that he would take Messi over Ronaldo, due to the ‘different things’ that the Argentine brings to the game:
‘Ronaldo wasn’t as focused on goals when we started playing together but you could see that all he wanted was to be the best player in the world,’ the Derby County star wrote in his column for the Sunday Times.
‘He practised and practised and began to produce. Cristiano has become an incredible scorer and he and Messi are arguably the best two players the game has seen.’
‘But despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi. It’s for the same reason I loved watching Xavi and [Paul] Scholes: it’s the different things in Messi’s game.’
‘I’ve talked about composure and I can’t remember seeing Messi score when he has hit the ball as hard as he could. He just rolls them in, makes it so easy,’
‘Ronaldo is ruthless in the box, a killer. But Messi will torture you before he kills you. With Messi you just get the impression he is having more fun.’
‘Those two have completely changed the game in terms of goalscoring numbers and I don’t think they’ll ever be matched.’
Quotes via Goal