"Cristiano Ronaldo should not be in the debate" - Ex-Manchester United defender says Lionel Messi is greatest footballer of all time

Messi won the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina
Messi (right) won the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina.

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker reckons Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer of all time and that Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn't even be in the conversation.

Messi won the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina on Sunday (December 18) after his team beat France 4-2 on penalties following a pulsating 3-3 draw after 120 minutes from open play.

The 35-year-old has now won every major trophy in club and international football, essentially cementing his legacy as the 'GOAT'.

🏆 Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time.🐐 The GOAT#FIFAWorldCup|#Messi𓃵|#GOAT𓃵

Parker, who made over 100 Premier League appearances with United, feels Lionel Messi is the greatest to have ever played, and Ronaldo shouldn't be in the debate. Speaking to BeMyBet, he said:

“Messi is the greatest of all time. What he has done throughout so many years is absolutely crazy, and I really respect him a lot. It has to be Messi. But the old Ronaldo, Ronaldo Nazario, was definitely up there. Week in and day out, he was just playing with his opponents. I loved to watch him. I never watched Diego Maradona play for his club, only on YouTube and of course I watched him for his national team. He was amazing, but I will still put Messi as the best ever.”

He added that Ronaldo was 'manufactured' into a good player and doesn't belong to the same bracket as Messi, Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho and Diego Maradona.

“Cristiano Ronaldo should not be in the debate. He was manufactured into being a good player, but he is nowhere near players like Ronaldo (Nazario), Ronaldinho, Maradona and Messi.”

Unlike Lionel Messi, Ronaldo endured a torrid campaign in Qatar, scoring just one goal in five games and was named in SofaScore's worst XI of the group stage.

He was controversially dropped from Portugal's starting lineup for both knockout games. Ronaldo came on as a second-half substitute against both Switzerland (Round of 16) and Morocco (quarterfinals).

The Selecao lost 1-0 to the Atlas Lions in the last eight, and Ronaldo was seen leaving the pitch in tears in what was effectively his final FIFA World Cup appearance.

Lionel Messi may be the GOAT, but Cristiano Ronaldo is also one of the greats

Lionel Messi may now be the greatest player of all time in the eyes of many, but Cristiano Ronaldo will go down in history as a true legend of the game too.

And they want to rank Maradona ahead of Ronaldo 😂

The Portuguese ace may not have won the World Cup, but his records speak for themselves, having achieved so much for club and country.

Having scored over 800 goals and made almost 250 assists, he has also won 32 titles and numerous individual honours, including five Ballon d'Ors. Ronaldo has visibly declined with age, but there's no denying his status as one of the greatest players of all time.

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Edited by Bhargav