‘He does things others can’t’ – Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debated by Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? It is one of football’s endless debates, and now Monday Night Football duo Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have weighed in after Ronaldo’s two-goal start upon his return to Manchester United, comparing the Portugal captain’s numbers to his Argentine counterpart. One error did see MNF forget to highlight Messi’s Copa America win this summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool react during the UEFA Champions League Draw, part of the UEFA European Club Football Season Kick-Off 2019/2020 at Salle des Princes, Grimaldi Forum on August 29,
With 10 minutes to go and both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, which player would you choose to win you the game?
Gary Neville picked Ronaldo, and that sparked a Monday Night Football debate with Jamie Carragher, one which has long divided football supporters, with fans of Messi and Ronaldo’s clubs – BOTH past and present – often passionately labelling their player as the greatest of all time.
In Carragher’s opinion, Messi goes down as the greatest for his all-round ability, not just the fact he has a better record than Ronaldo from off the bench.
"Ronaldo is not the greatest player of all time," Carragher said, and when questioned by Neville regarding who is the greatest, the ex-Liverpool captain added: “I’m going to say his mate here [Lionel Messi]."
"It doesn't matter how a ball goes in the net," Carragher added.
Messi's got a better goal record than Ronaldo. Messi is also a playmaker, Messi can run a game. Ronaldo can't do that. Again, not a criticism, but there’s no way he’s the greatest.
"The stats prove Messi's got more of a chance scoring off the bench than Ronaldo.
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"Messi, as a player, can take you to a place that you can't actually believe what you're seeing. What Ronaldo does, he does things other players can do, headers, running, free-kicks. Messi can do things you’ve never seen before.”
Weighing in, Neville said: "There are a lot of people who believe Ronaldo is, there are a lot of people who believe Messi is. I would never say someone who chose Messi is wrong, that's their opinion.
“I just thought this morning, if you said to me which player would you bring off the bench to win you a football match with 10 minutes to go, I would choose Ronaldo.”
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Bruno Fernandes
Image credit: Getty Images
‘Ronaldo doesn’t prevent Haaland signing
Neville also said he believes United could see Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial depart next summer to free up room to sign in-demand Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Asked if Ronaldo’s presence would prevent United pursuing Haaland, Neville said: “No, I think Manchester United next year will lose probably Martial, they’ll lose Mata, Cavani will leave because they got another year out of him.
“So it will free places to be filled. If Haaland becomes available next summer and they want to do a deal with his agent – which is the big thing with Haaland – then Manchester United should go for him.
“And I don’t think Cristiano coming prevents Haaland joining.”