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5 legends who think Messi is better than Ronaldo

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, GOAT
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Next up in our GOAT debate, we give you FIVE football legends who have said that Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have battled for supremacy for over a decade now. With the greatest of all time (GOAT) title still up for grabs, they continue to try and outdo each other in their thirties.

The iconic duo have won all football’s biggest individual prizes over the years, with 2020 set to be no exception. 11 Ballon d’Or awards between them is just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the last week, however, the GOAT debate came to light once again with FIVE football legends picking Ronaldo over Messi.

So now it’s time to check out the 5 football legends who reckon that it’s Messi who betters Ronaldo as the GOAT.

Steven Gerrard

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, GOAT
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Fair play to Gerrard for never holding back on his opinion no matter what people may think of him.

The Liverpool legend faced Cristiano Ronaldo 13 times across his career against Manchester United, Real Madrid and Portugal.

Although he only took on Lionel Messi twice during a Champions League last-16 tie with Barcelona in 2006/07.

But Gerrard believes that Ronaldo is “selfish” and, therefore, he gave “team player” Messi his vote.

“But Messi for me is more of a team player,” said Gerrard.

“If he’s in on goal he’ll look for a pass as well as obviously posting really, really good numbers individually as well.

“Ronaldo for me is more individual. He’s hungry for goals, he’s a little bit more selfish, whether that be in a good way or a bad way and obviously the profile of the players is very different in terms of size.

“I think they’re different in many ways but what I will say to them, and the biggest compliment I can give them, is they’re operating on a different planet than any other footballer out there at the moment.

“I go Messi. I’m not selfish, I’m a team player.”

Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff of Barcelona
Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner revolutionised the game during his incredible career.

Not only did Cruyff become one of the greatest players in history, but he was also a phenomenal coach for Barcelona and Ajax.

We may never see anyone like him ever again.

Before he passed away in 2016, however, the legendary Dutchman proclaimed Lionel Messi as the GOAT.

“I’ve always liked technical players because I’ve been a bit like that,” said Cruyff, per BarcaBlaugranes.

“Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a great player, but he’s just a goalscorer. Cristiano will never be the player who can create or take care team that his team plays well. He is just a finisher.”

“Messi is much more a team player than Cristiano is. He scores but also produces many assists.

“For me as a player, Messi is better. There is a big difference in being just a great goalscorer and being the best player. Messi deserves Ballon d’Or, no discussion.”

“Every person that understands football knows this. It’s absolutely ridiculous to me that some people actually think Messi isn’t the best.”

“This isn’t about Cristiano [Ronaldo] at all. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best goalscorers ever. This is about how ridiculously good Messi is.”

Ronaldo Nazario

Ronaldo Nazario
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Jose Mourinho caused quite a stir in October when he ranked Ronaldo Nazario above Lionel Messi and Cristiano.

Although the Brazilian legend was wisely kept his opinion to himself on that one.

But Ronaldo did weigh in on football’s biggest debate once, where he declared Messi as a more complete player than CR7.

“He (Messi) is out of this world,” said Ronaldo Nazario, via Marca.

“Cristiano, too, but I see Leo as more complete.

“He’s great. I like him much more than any other player.”

Ronaldo Nazario added: “Everything he does is spectacular.”

Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, GOAT
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As one of history’s greatest players, Maradona knows a thing or two about football.

The Argentina legend enjoyed a glory-laden career that saw him win the World Cup along with countless club honours.

But while he respects Cristiano Ronaldo as an “animal”, Maradona gave compatriot Messi his vote.

“I can’t remember having seen Lionel Messi play badly,” said Maradona via Sport360.

“I prefer Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo but I acknowledge that the latter is an animal. Football history will remember Messi.”


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Finally, we turn to ‘King Pele’ for the final answer.

The Brazilian icon is revered as one of the greatest footballers of all-time, if not the best.

But when it came to making a choice, Pele chose Lionel Messi as the better player than Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016.

“I could mention some names but what has happened in the last 10 to 15 years, I think Messi is the player who was the most consistent all those years, no doubt,” Pele, according to ESPN.

“We have had a lot of good players. Then Cristiano Ronaldo came late but it is different because Messi is the more organised, he scores goals.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is like the Ronaldo from Brazil, he is a good scorer no doubt, but to me as a player it is Messi.”