In an interview sponsored by SkyBet, Neville asked the former Chelsea manager a series of 29 questions. Perhaps the most delicate among them was the following:
“Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?”
The two modern football greats will forever be remembered by the football fraternity for innumerable reasons. Lionel Messi during his time at FC Barcelona regularly produced magical things with football that had never been seen before. He has maintained a higher scoring rate throughout his career and is miles ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to career assists as well.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has evolved to become arguably the most fantastic goal-scoring machine ever seen since leaving Manchester United. Ronaldo arguably does not compare to Messi when it comes to raw talent.
However, he has a freak ability to score goals and maintains his physical standards immensely. This has allowed him to state a strong case to be recognized as the greatest of all time.
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Frank Lampard was as confused as the writer of this article. He claimed he was initially a Lionel Messi fan but has been forced to give Cristiano Ronaldo the edge in recent years. He said:
“I’ve always been a Messi man. I actually think for what Ronaldo’s output and actual numbers and goals in big finals, semi-finals and that we’ve seen, I think I might be giving him the edge now.”
Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi: Who is the greatest club footballer of all time?
The statistics point to a simple answer. Cristiano Ronaldo has 634 goals and 134 assists in 823 appearances across all competitions for the four clubs he has played for.
Lionel Messi has 631 goals and 252 assists in 724 overall appearances. Most football fans will agree that Lionel Messi has single-handedly done most amazing things ever seen being done with football. Additionally, he has a slightly better scoring rate and more assists in lesser appearances than Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s fans will argue that he has a higher chance of delivering when it matters the most for his teams. It is evident by his fantastic goal-scoring record in the Champions League.
On the other hand, a majority of Lionel Messi’s goals have come against Spanish domestic teams. However, he has always delivered against English opponents as well. Sir Alex Ferguson had famously made a claim about Cristiano Ronaldo. He said that Ronaldo has the ability to score a hat-trick regardless of the team against him, and the team that he was playing for.
Additionally, Ronaldo is the fitter of the two. He has maintained his status as an inspiration to the younger generation via simple things, at times even his eating habits.
Lionel Messi, on the other hand, is currently struggling to make an impact for PSG, the only other club he has ever played for apart from FC Barcelona. The Blaugrana during Messi’s tenure never even thought of creating a team that did not suit the Argentinian. However, at PSG there are not one, but two big stars who are vying to be the biggest player in the city of Paris. They are Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Here, Messi has till now struggled, although there have been regular moments of magic as well. He has scored just once in Ligue 1 so far this season.
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Regardless of which side of the debate you are tilted towards, the beauty of the above question is that it need not be answered. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two greatest club footballers of all time. Both of them only need to be celebrated for whatever is left of their careers.