The former Barcelona midfielder took issue with Cristiano Ronaldo’s claims over his status as the ‘best player ever’, made while he was still at Real Madrid in 2017
While the Portugal captain was still in the famous white and gold of Real Madrid, Ronaldo explained to France Football : “I don’t see anyone better than me. No player does things that I cannot do myself, but I see things others can’t do.
“There’s no more complete player than me,” he confidently declared. “I’m the best player in history – in the good and the bad moments.”
Now back in the colours of Manchester United, Ronaldo has taken to life back in England with relative ease – bagging six goals in eight games across all competitions.
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The lack of adjustment upon his return to the Premier League is likely to have only reinforced the idea, in his own mind at least, that Ronaldo is the best to ever don a pair of boots.
And four years on from those very comments, the Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate wages on.
Ex-Camp Nou hero Xavi however, is staunch in his belief that Ronaldo is not the best player between the two – let alone of all time.
Having spent more than ten years watching the brilliance of Messi up close for Barca, Xavi’s assessment of the ‘best ever’ situation came as little surprise.
Speaking to Tot Costa de Catalunya Ràdio shrotly after Ronaldo’s self-asssement, Xavi explained: “Messi does more things compared to Cristiano.
“If Cristiano considers himself the best player in history, that’s fine, but those of us who see him train, there is no comparison,” he added.
“Messi is the best in history, and we don’t see it any other way.”
Messi and Ronaldo have spent the best part of a decade and a half pushing each other to their limit, winning a combined eleven Ballon d’Or’s in the process.
The Argentine – now of Paris Saint-Germain, currently has the edge over his Portuguese counterpart, Messi boasting six to Ronaldo’s five.
Two years after he revealed he thought he was the best player ever, Ronaldo doubled down on those claims during an interview with Piers Morgan.
“Messi’s in the history of football,” Ronaldo explained. “But I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him,” he said, referring to the Ballon d’Or.
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“I’d love it, I think I deserve it.”
Luka Modric ended nine years of Messi/Ronaldo dominance of the award in 2018, with one half of the aforementioned duo always winning the coveted individual honour from 2008 to 2017.
Messi secured his sixth title in 2019, while the 2020 edition was scrapped in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And again, a number of names outside of Messi and Ronaldo are being touted as potential winners, with both Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski heralded as worthy victors.
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