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'Doesn't matter if you think one is better than the other,' says Rio Ferdinand as he urges fans to put an end to Ronaldo vs Messi debate

1.10K   //    11 Apr 2019, 22:45 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, UEFA Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, UEFA Champions League

What's the story?

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has claimed that great players have always had others to compete with and that the rivalry between Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is no different. Ferdinand also told Goal that engaging any longer in the endless GOAT is futile.

He was of the opinion that the duo have helped push each other to the limit and we are lucky to be able to watch them live on TV almost every weekend.

In case you didn't know...

Messi and Ronaldo are the two top scorers in UEFA Champions League history and the only players to have hit a century of goals in the competition, with 125 and 108 goals respectively.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the next top scorer behind the two superstars among the players still active, and his haul of 60 is a far cry from the figures that the pair boast of.

Ronaldo scored in his recent outing for Juve yesterday, which was his 23rd header in the competition, but Messi was kept quiet by Ronaldo's former club Manchester United.

The heart of the matter

Ferdinand, one of the best defenders of his generation, had gone head to head against both of these players in his career and rates both of them equally.

Speaking to Goal at an event to promote his new movie 90 Minutes, Ferdinand opened up about why Messi and Ronaldo are still the most dominant forwards in the world. He said:

"They are both just ridiculous talents and what puts them so far ahead of everyone else is their mental strength. That area of their game never ceases to amaze me and separates them from everyone else. It is something I marvel at, definitely."

He also expressed his views on the GOAT debate and felt that they have achieved so much over the years, that it doesn't even matter which player is better. Instead, he urged fans to just enjoy the duo's amazing skills while they still can. He continued:

"We are blessed that we are in the presence of these two amazing footballers and it doesn't matter if you think one is better than the other at this stage."

Finally, he compared their epic rivalry to that of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's over the last decade, saying:

"I think these two have definitely been driven on by each other and we have seen examples of how this works in other sports as well."
"Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are examples of two incredible sporting talents that have had to go to the next level and the next level because they are pushing each other on."

What's next?

Messi and Ronaldo will be in action for their respective clubs in this weekend's league fixtures, where the Argentine has the opportunity to extend his lead over the former Real Madrid man in the European Golden shoe race.