Former Barcelona and England striker Gary Lineker has waded into the debate over who is the best footballer in the world by claiming Leo Messi is ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 53-year-old, who won the European Cup Winners Cup with the Catalan side in 1989, said to compare the two players you have to do so over a period of time rather than over the course of just one season – and the Leo Messi edges it ahead of Real Madrid star Ronaldo.
Ronaldo picked up the Ballon d’Or award earlier this season, and scored 51 goals in total this campaign – the fourth year running he has scored more than 50 goals. He also broke Messi’s goalscoring record in the Champions League, netting 17 goals as Los Blancos secured la Decima. The previous best over a single season was 15 by the Barcelona man.
Lineker, now a pundit and presenter on the BBC, said: “For me, Messi has been a gift from the footballing Gods. “He’s such a phenomenal talent… a player who not only beats people but mesmerizes them, produces magical moments, scores multitude of goals but he’s also an honest player. He gets kicked, he gets hacked [but] he gets up. He never dives. He doesn’t cheat.
He went on to say Ronaldo is a phenomenal talent and deserves all the praise he gets for his incredible achievements on the field.
For me, Messi edges it in the sense he is more of a team player. I think Ronaldo is phenomenal talent, a brilliant player and I love him to bits but he does play for himself a bit. Messi always makes the right decision whether it’s a pass or a finish and the man’s a little genius,” he said.