Debates spice up football especially debate on the superiority of a footballer or a team over another. There is always this unending debate of who the Football GOAT is. This argument is usually between Ronaldo & Messi. The interesting thing is that some of Ronaldo’s former teammates say Messi is better (or the real Soccer GOAT).
In times past, the two legends of the game who used to be at the center of this discussion were the Brazilian Pele and the late Maradona. In recent times, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi seem to have taken that space or added it to the list.
The never-ending debate of who is the better player between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has lasted for over a decade now. The performances of both football stars make it difficult for some to decide who the Football GOAT is.
Hence, they remain undecided. But there are footballers who are of the opinion that Messi is the better player and others who think Cristiano Ronaldo is better.
Most times, the opinion of some past and present footballers on who the Soccer GOAT is is influenced by their loyalty towards the player, either as teammates at club level or with the national team.
However, what happens when an ex-teammate decides to “pitch his tent” in the camp of the other player? Does it settle the debate?
Before moving on, it is important to define what GOAT means in terms of Football or Soccer. GOAT is actually an acronym that means the Greatest Footballer of All Time.
Now, concerning the Football or Soccer GOAT, five (5) notable former Teammates of Ronaldo say Messi is better or the Greatest of All Time. Let’s consider these five players.
Read Also: Top 10 La Liga Goal Scorers of All Time
5 Ronaldo’s Former Teammates Say Messi is Better
Rooney, Manchester United’s greatest goal scorer and England’s record goalscorer played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for several years at Manchester United. The Englishman is one of those who think Messi is the better player.
In an interview he granted to talkSPORT, Rooney said:
“That debate, Messi vs. Ronaldo… Messi just has everything; he can make goals, score goals, dictate games… He is one of the only players where I’ve just sat there and watched and been in awe.
Obviously, I played with Cristiano, and the two of them have set the standard which I don’t think will ever be seen again, But, for me, Messi is just on a different level.”
In one of his recent appearance on the “Pardon My Take podcast” reported by goal.com, when he was asked why he prefers Messi to Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney said :
“I think I’ve said this before, but they’re both probably the best two players to ever play the game.
“I just think Messi is, in my eyes, the greatest ever.”
Angel Di Maria
Ronaldo Teammates Say Messi is Better and Di Maria is yet another example.
Angel Di Maria played alongside Ronaldo between 2010 and 2014 at Real Madrid. He won several trophies including the Uefa Champions League, the Spanish league, and the Copa del Rey with the Portuguese superstar.
Di Maria is also Messi’s teammates with the Argentine National team where they lost the World cup and Copa America finals.
However, when it comes to the choice of who the better player is, Di Maria thinks Messi is superior. He told TyC sports:
“It was a dream to have the possibility to play with Rooney, Ibrahimovic, Cristiano, Leo … they were players that I used on the PlayStation and I would never have imagined I’d get to play with them,”
With all the great players I have played with, it’s hard to choose. But if I had to pick one, it would be Leo. Leo is the best of the four”
Scholes is another Manchester United legend who played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United. He won the Uefa Champions League and multiple league titles at Manchester United with Ronaldo.
The former English Midfielder scored the only goal of the tie between Manchester United and Messi’s Barcelona in the 2007/08 Uefa Champions League semi-final. They eventually lifted the trophy anyway.
However, Scholes gave his verdict on the Messi and Ronaldo debate via his column on The Independent. He said:
“I think about the great players with whom I have shared a pitch: Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Pirlo, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo – and the greatest of them all is Messi.”
Casillas’s name is always mentioned amongst the greatest goalkeeper of his generation. The Real Madrid Legend was a mainstay in the most successful period of the Spanish national team.
At Real Madrid, his legendary status cannot be disputed. Several individual awards and team trophies proved his importance for almost two decades of his stay there.
Casillas featured alongside Cristiano Ronaldo between 2009 and 2015.
In that time, Real Madrid won the Uefa Champions League, the Spanish league, and other major trophies. Cristiano Ronaldo also won multiple individual awards, including the Ballon d’Or.
However, following Leo Messi’s heroics against Atletico Madrid in the La Liga Match on the 1st of December 2019, the truth surfaced.
In that match, Messi scored an 86th-minute curler to give Barcelona a 1-0 win away from home.
Casillas’ tweet hinted that he believes Messi is the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time).
“Formula for football: goalkeeper 🔝 (top) & player 🐐 (GOAT). Today Barca took the three points at Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico has played well but lacked composure in front of goal. Blaugrana remains top of the league. Atletico have to fight for the Champions League zone,”
Berbatov was a teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United in the 2008/09 season. The pair won the English Premier League title and Fifa Club World Cup but lost the Champions League final of 2009 to a Leo Messi inspired Barcelona team.
In an interview he granted to ESPNFC, Berbatov said:
“He’s the f***ing greatest. Ronaldo is brilliant, Messi is more my kind of player,” “He sees the game so clearly. He can score, create, he’s the complete player, the best ever probably.”
In essence, Berbatov believes Messi is the Football GOAT.
Who is the Football GOAT – Messi or Ronaldo?
What do the opinions of these former Ronaldo teammates do to the debate of who the Football GOAT is? Does it not subtly settle the debate?
If some of Ronaldo’s former teammates say Messi is better, does it mean Messi is the real Soccer GOAT and not Ronaldo?
Share your thoughts in the comment box.