Any soccer fan in the 21st century is well aware of the healthy yet intense rivalry that existed between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi during their time in Europe. This rivalry not only defined the sport but also pushed both players to their absolute best, a fact they’ve openly acknowledged in numerous interviews.
While this rivalry was characterized as healthy, it also consistently sparked debates among pundits and fans regarding who deserves the coveted title of the greatest soccer player of all time. In a recent instance, Tyson Fury candidly shared his opinion with Cristiano Ronaldo prior to his fight against Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Tyson Fury’s honest thoughts on Ronaldo-Messi debate
When it comes to choosing the best between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, there’s no middle ground. While most opinions are often influenced by sentiments, it doesn’t diminish the remarkable achievements of both players in their illustrious careers. The pair has collectively won 13 Ballon d’Or awards, a feat unprecedented in the history of the sport.
Tyson Fury also chose his side in the build-up to his “Fight of the Baddest” clash with Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night. The British boxer claimed he followed Ronaldo throughout his United career, including the first and second spells.
“Cristiano, you’re the greatest footballer that’s ever lived, and I mean that,” the heavyweight champion told Ronaldo before the match.
“Thank you very much,” the former United forward replied as he smiled.
“I’m a big fan; I watch all the football,” Fury continued. “I watched you when you were at United the first time, the second time, and all of Real Madrid,” Fury added, as reported by The Mirror.
Cristiano Ronaldo continues to live up to the hype at 38, becoming a huge force behind Al-Nassr’s title charge in the Saudi Pro League this season. The former Real Madrid and Juventus star has also scored 43 goals and assisted 10 in 45 games for club and country in 2023, making him the most lethal finisher in the sport.
Lionel Messi’s ex-manager says Ronaldo is still the greatest player
The Ronaldo-Messi debate is not limited to fans, pundits, and players, past or present. Soccer managers also weigh in on the debate, choosing who they think is the GOAT, although much of that debate is often influenced by their own biases. Shockingly, Lionel Messi’s last manager in Europe has claimed Ronaldo is “still the greatest player.”
Cristiano Ronaldo came up against Christophe Gatlier’s new side Al Duhail in the AFC Champions League, scoring a brace in a 4-3 win over the Qatari side. When assessing Ronaldo’s performance after the game, Gatlier praised the Portuguese forward, saying, “When you face Ronaldo, there isn’t much you can do. He scored two beautiful goals. I’m at a loss for words to describe him. What he did is extraordinary for a 38-year-old. He’s still the best player in the world,” Gatlier declared.
This may have surprised Messi’s fans, considering that the Argentine forward played under Gatlier at PSG, but they failed to meet the club’s expectations, especially in the Champions League.
On the other hand, Ronaldo is reportedly willing to extend his stay at Al-Nassr until 2027, making sure he stays in shape for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Can Cristiano Ronaldo make the 2026 World Cup?