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Gary Linekar opens up on why he prefers Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the prime contenders for Ballon d
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the prime contenders for Ballon d'Or this year.
Modified 11 Aug 2019

What's the story?

Renowned pundit and former England striker Gary Lineker has finally revealed why he enjoys watching Lionel Messi play over Cristiano Ronaldo, though he claimed that he admires both of them for their own unique ways.

In a Q&A session with Sportsbible's Ben Welch, the 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner also opened up on his longtime admiration for the current Barcelona captain.

In case you didn't know...

Lineker - who played for The Catalans between 1986 to 1989 - was a prolific striker of the ball and managed to score 42 goals for them, is a known Messi fan.

Messi and Ronaldo had a good offseason, in which both the distinguished footballers won an individual honour each, with the Argentinean winning the Best Soccer player at the ESPY Awards, while Ronaldo was decorated with the coveted Marca legends award.

Recently, Messi beat his fierce rival to the UEFA Goal of the season, after also winning the UCL goal of the season earlier this year.

The heart of the matter...

Messi-Ronaldo debate continues to divide fans across the globe. No two players have divaricated fans and as things stand there's no end in sight of the GOAT debate.


For every person who thinks the little Argentinian is the best, another will disagree and say it's CR7's title.

Jumping on the bandwagon, Gary Lineker revealed his pick between the five-time Ballon d'Or winners and explained why the left-footed wizard of a footballer is a better footballer for him. He told Sportsbible, when asked to choose between the duo:

"Messi. I love them both, but if you say on Twitter, "that's an unbelievably great goal from the wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo" you'll get Messi fans on your case and if you say something brilliant about Messi, which I do a lot because he's ridiculous, you'll get Ronaldo fans on your case."

Though he said he admires both, he concedes that the two are very different. He called Ronaldo a great athlete and praised his goalscoring prowess. He continued:

"You can love them both and admire them both which I do, but they're very different. Ronaldo's an athlete. He's driven, he's got the absolute best out of his game. He's the best header of the ball I've ever seen and the best goalscorer I've ever seen."

Finally, he revealed why he admires Ronaldo, but it is Messi who gives him the real joy of watching football. He added:

"But Messi is also as good a goalscorer as there's ever been and he's as good a passer as you'll ever see and as good a dribbler as you'll ever see. When I watch Ronaldo I admire him, when I watch Messi he gives me joy and for me, that's the difference."

What's next?

After a quiet pre-season, Messi and Ronaldo are now ready to kick off their campaigns with their respective clubs later this month.

Published 11 Aug 2019, 02:00 IST
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