Javier Saviola prefers Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo
Former Argentina striker, Javier Saviola, has revealed that he likes Lionel Messi more than Cristiano Ronaldo. The former striker is the last player to have played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona and has opined that while the Portugal captain is a great player, he likes his compatriot more because of his eye-catching nature.
He told Omnisport: "I love how Messi plays football. If I had to choose a favourite player, I would definitely choose him. It is about taste, I like Messi better, but there is no doubt that Cristiano is a great player.”
He compared the two by claiming that the former Manchester United star is more physical while the reigning Ballon d’Or winner is more skilful.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is a machine, physically powerful. Messi is more skilful and he brings more of a spectacle when he comes onto the pitch. When they finish their careers, both will be among the best in history – that is beyond doubt," he added.
Saviola also heaped praises on his compatriot’s attitude as ‘La Pulga’ tries to improve even when there is little space for him to do so.
Saviola continued: "I love how he plays, the way he improves season by season – if he can improve at all as there's little space for him to improve! Messi is beyond doubt among of the best in history. We are all looking to everything he does as he is a pure spectacle.”
Great off the field
The former Argentina international also stated that Lionel Messi’s endearing personality helps him garner more praise than his Galactico rival. The Argentina captain’s humble nature is something that pleases Saviola a lot as it allows him to spend pleasant times with 29 year old.
"He is the best, not just as a player but also as a person. I have always been on very good terms with him. He is a very humble person and it is really pleasant to chat with him. The kind of guy you keep a friendship with, very humble. As great as he is on the pitch, he is great as a person."
When Saviola donned the Barca shirt, Messi was wreaking havoc in the youth team. The 34-year-old fondly remembered those days as he recalled how people predicted Messi’s rise to being the best back then itself.
"I heard there was a kid in the Barca youth team and that it was worth going to see him play," said Saviola. “They told us he had an incredible left foot, that he was already different and they thought he would be one of the best in history.”
The former Real Madrid striker believes that the reason for his greatness is the fact that Messi can think what his next move will be even before touching the ball, which most players can’t.
"He is better than the rest because he thinks before he gets the ball at his feet. Most players, we can't do that. We can't think before we get the ball. Maybe due to tiredness, maybe due to our skills, but we can't.
"He thinks, he imagines the play before even getting the ball and then executes it. He's fast, really difficult to stop. He's effective, understands his team-mates and is really complete. A normal player has two or three of these skills – he has got them all."
Praise for Ronaldo as well
Saviola didn’t fixate his praise on Messi alone as he then went on to lavish some on Cristiano Ronaldo as well for his incredible level of consistency.
"His results, his records are there," the 34-year-old added.
"Year after year they both improve their own records and it is not coincidence that all these years they compete in between them to win Ballon d'Or. “
Saviola admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo winning the Euro with Portugal was an astounding achievement given that very few expected them to achieve the feat.
"They are making history with amazing seasons clinching trophies such as the Champions League or Euros as Ronaldo did this summer with Portugal. They were not favourites and it has a huge merit that they won, he also won Champions League.”
"He's really effective and of course stands a chance for Ballon d'Or. He is really competitive with himself. If he scores three he wants to hit the fourth and you can see he gets frustrated if he doesn't. So he's mentally really strong," he concluded.
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