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'Messi better than Cristiano' says Brazilian Ronaldo

ESPN staff
September 20, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both struck hat-tricks in the Champions League © Getty Images
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Brazil World Cup-winner Ronaldo has said he believes Lionel Messi is a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, told AS it was difficult to choose but, on balance, the Argentine was the more influential and better all-round player.

"I would stick with Messi," he said. "It is difficult. It is like when you are looking to buy a house and they offer you many nice ones, but you need to pick one.

"Messi seems more complete to me, or at least more decisive. In the important moments, he appears and scores goals."

Asked about former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho's comments about there being only one "real" Ronaldo - "the Brazilian Ronaldo" - the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year said: "This is Mourinho up to his tricks… I prefer not to get into polemics.

"You must respect everyone's opinion. Each player writes his own history, and the history of another player does not erase it. I am happy to have finished up with what I did."

Ronaldo said he believed there had been more great players around when he was playing.

"For me, there is less competition now," he added. "I do not want to be the typical guy saying things were better in my day, but I look around now and I just see those two.

"Maybe Neymar is coming, but he has a long way to go yet. But in my time there were many great players. I competed with [Zinedine] Zidane, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, [Michael] Owen, [Luis] Figo, [Gabriel] Batistuta… there were many players who made their teams great. Now I just see Cristiano and Messi, although the truth is they are very, very good."

He said that while both he and Real's current Ronaldo were goalscorers, their games were slightly different.

"We do not look alike when we play," he explained. "I was more a centre-forward, and you could say he is a second striker.

"Cristiano, in his most recent stage at Madrid, has learned to score goals. And scoring goals is the most beautiful thing in the world. If you score so many goals, you must be very good. Nobody scores a lot of goals by getting lucky."

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