Cristiano Ronaldo is a man who is accustomed to being the star of the show wherever he has played in what has been one of football's most decorated careers. The Portuguese legend, currently spearheading Italian champions Juventus, is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game.
On Tuesday night, Ronaldo made history once again and achieved another breathtaking record that is likely to remain intact for years to come. The former Real Madrid great registered his 100th and 101st international goals for his nation, Portugal, in a 2-0 win over Sweden in the UEFA Nations League.
This made him the first-ever European player to achieve triple figures for goals in football history. Cristiano Ronaldo needed just 165 games to accomplish this landmark tally, further highlighting his unbelievably prolific nature.
He is now only eight goals away from levelling the all-time record for international goals, currently held by former Iranian legend Ali Daei, who has 109 strikes to his name for his country.
This record is one among a host of landmarks achieved by Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of the two greatest players of this generation alongside Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi.
The pair have amassed a staggering 11 (!) Ballons d'Or over their careers so far, and are widely regarded as two of the game's most iconic names.
Many football personalities have often been asked to choose between the Argentine and the Portuguese. While both players have a host of admirers from all over the world, here, we take a look at five football stars to have picked Cristiano Ronaldo over his contemporary, Leo Messi.
#5 Gini Wijnaldum | Liverpool
Few footballers have seen a rise as meteoric as Gini Wijnaldum has over the last few years. The Dutchman was transformed from an attacking midfielder to an all-action midfield lynchpin by Jurgen Klopp. Wijnaldum played a vital role in the Reds' recent success and scored an invaluable brace in Liverpool's famous semi-final turnaround against Barcelona.
The 29-year-old was asked to choose between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on a few occasions in his career. On one occasion, he responded in a diplomatic manner by saying;
"Sometimes I say Lionel Messi, sometimes I say Cristiano Ronaldo. It is not fair to pick between the two, because what one player has, the other player doesn't. They are both the players in the world, for me."
However, in an interview called 'You Have To Answer,' Wijnaldum was asked to choose between several different options, including Messi and Ronaldo. The Dutchman instantly picked the Portuguese, revealing where his allegiance lies in this famed debate.
This would certainly make for an interesting answer now that Wijnaldum has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona, with a move said to be imminent in the coming weeks.
#4 Michael Owen | Ex-Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid
The second player on this list with an famous connection to Premier League champions Liverpool, Michael Owen is another high-profile name to have chosen Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi. The 40-year-old, to date, remains the last player to have won the Ballon d'Or, an award that Cristiano Ronaldo went on to win five times in his career.
Speaking on football's two demi-gods, Owen explained why he would prefer Cristiano Ronaldo over Leo Messi. The Englishman said;
“Goalscoring is the hardest art in football and [Ronaldo] makes it look so easy. Head, left foot, right foot. Messi is a decent header of a ball but if you're looking at all-round players, you go head-to-head with Messi and Ronaldo, you'd say Ronaldo has a lot more different attributes let's say."
The former Liverpool legend continued,
"He's probably always been quicker, right foot, left foot and header of a ball. I think Messi is outstanding in certain attributes but as an all-round physique, Ronaldo is such an all-round player."