Jorge Jesus says Lionel Messi has 'no passion' for football and Cristiano Ronaldo only a 'little bit' in comparison with Diego Maradona

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in action
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in action

In what was a rather bizarre set of comments made by Jorge Jesus, the Portuguese manager claimed that Lionel Messi has 'no passion' for football and Cristiano Ronaldo has only a 'little bit' of it.

The SL Benfica coach was discussing the legacy left behind by the late Diego Maradona, who unfortunately passed away last week aged 60. Maradona was widely regarded as one of the finest footballers to have graced the sport, while many fans and former professionals are of the opinion that he is the greatest of all time.

Jorge Jesus is undoubtedly one of those, and claimed that the late Argentine is one of two best players in football history, alongside Brazilian icon Pele. However, he took aim at Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's lack of passion.

Jesus questions Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's passion for football

Argentine legend Diego Maradona
Argentine legend Diego Maradona

Speaking during the pre-match press conference ahead of their fixture against Maritimo, Jesus compared Maradona's passion of the game with that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's. He expressed;

"In my opinion, [Diego] Maradona was the greatest player in history, together with Pelé. Pelé is still here, he is alive. Maradona was the greatest, not only for what he was as a genius and player, but for the way he showed. That made the difference to me."

The 66-year-old continued,

"He was a world top, but he had a passion for the game, he was born to be a football player, he was born with everything. It is not a worked product, he was born that way. Love, all the feeling he had with the ball…"
"Nowadays, between the two best in the world, [Cristiano] Ronaldo has a little bit of that, [Lionel] Messi has nothing. He has nothing … of passion. He is a great player."

The former Sporting CP coach, however, later went on to clarify what exactly he meant via his comments on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, saying that he intended to highlight the special relationship that Maradona shared with the sport. He stated;

"Be careful not to misinterpret. As for [Lionel] Messi, we are talking about what life and feeling is about, having a passion for the game and football. I think [Diego] Maradona was even prominent in this regard in relation to others."
Messi and Maradona during Argentina training, 2010
Messi and Maradona during Argentina training, 2010

Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are often mentioned in the same breath as Maradona as some of the best players in football history. The Juventus and Barcelona superstars paid heartfelt tributes to Maradona in the wake of his death. Cristiano Ronaldo wrote on a post on social media;

"Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world farewells to an eternal genius. One of the best ever, an unmatched magician. Leaves too soon but leaves a boundless legacy and a void that will never be filled. RIP. You will never be forgotten."

Cristiano Ronaldo never had the opportunity to work with Maradona, unlike Lionel Messi, who was coached by the Argentine for a brief period while on international duty.

The 33-year-old paid a beautiful tribute to the late 60-year-old after scoring for Barcelona on the weekend.

After scoring a scorcher against Osasuna, Lionel Messi celebrated by removing his shirt to reveal a Newell's Old Boys shirt with Maradona's #10 on the back, raising his arms to the heavens as a homage to the World Cup winner.

Also read: Barcelona to be fined for Lionel Messi's tribute for the late Diego Maradona

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Edited by Sai Teja
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