Match of the Day presenter and former England great Gary Lineker has had his say on the long-running Messi versus Ronaldo debate, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.
Lineker has insisted that although he is a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, according to him, nobody comes close to Messi when they talk about the greatest player to have ever played the game.
Speaking about his thoughts on the debate, speaking to BBC Sport as cited in the Mirror, Lineker said:
“People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them,”
“Often the choice seems to come down to whether you support Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus or whoever, which is fine – I understand that.”
“I am a huge fan of Ronaldo too, but if you’re talking about the best player ever, there shouldn’t even be a debate that it is Messi. That’s just my opinion, but it’s not even close for me.”
Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona while Ronaldo has moved between clubs in different leagues, starting with Sporting Lisbon and then moving to Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus.
However, according to Lineker, the argument that Ronaldo has played in different leagues is purely incidental.
Speaking about Messi staying at Barcelona for the entirety of his career, Lineker said:
“Messi has obviously played in some great teams during his time there but, whoever has been alongside him, his amazing numbers have carried on exactly the same.”
“He has proved the doubters wrong, time and time again.”
“Even for the past couple of seasons, when the Barca team has not been anything like as strong as it was in the past, his contribution has not dipped. In fact, they have been a real mess without him.”
“It’s rare for any player to stay with one club now, in the way Messi has with Barcelona, let alone someone who moved there from a different country like he did when he left Argentina for Spain, aged 13.”
“But, if he had left for any reason, Messi would have been accused of being disloyal. He cannot win, basically.”
“And why would he want to move anyway? He started with one of the greatest clubs in world football.”
“Leave Barca and you only move sideways at best. You are never going to move up,”
While it’s certain that opinion remains divided on the Messi versus Ronaldo debate, there is no doubt that Messi has been loyal to his boyhood club given that he joined La Masia in Barcelona at the age of 13 and owes everything to the club.
However, Ronaldo is in his own right one of the greatest to have graced the game, but, Messi makes the cut as the greatest ever, according to the former England striker Gary Lineker.