Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the footballing landscape for the best part of 15 years, and former Liverpool man turned Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes the Portuguese has a clever way of getting one up on the Argentine.
With Messi never having moved from Barcelona, there’s always been a question mark as to whether he could be as good elsewhere, particularly in the Premier League.
Ronaldo, of course, has done the business in England, Spain and now in Italy, but, as Carragher exclusively told CaughtOffside, he believes this could be a clever tactic to take the focus away from Messi being the better player.
“I think that’s why Ronaldo’s moved. I think he knows that he’s always been seen as just behind Messi, so I think Ronaldo’s quite clever,” he said.
“I can say I’ve won the league in all these countries, been the top scorer in all these countries and these are more strings to my bow … I also think he probably does the opposite to what Messi does to try and paint himself as being slightly different.
“Listen, I don’t think of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini being any less of a defender because they never left AC Milan. So that’s not going to change me with Lionel Messi not leaving Barcelona. I mean, why would you leave Barcelona?”
The notion of the Ballon d’Or winner somehow needing to prove himself in any league other than La Liga was one that Carragher gave short shrift to, and though Barcelona might not have won the Champions League for five years, he still put them at the top of the footballing tree.
“It’s just stupid. It’s absolutely daft. He’s at the top club, he’s the best player there, he’s the best player in Europe,” Carragher added.
“The best show up against the best on the biggest occasions and that’s what he does so I don’t really listen (to other’s opinions). Fair play to Ronaldo and well done, but it’s not something to criticise Messi for.”