“He’s got the whole package” – When Gareth Bale made clear choice between Ronaldo and Messi while naming ‘complete’ footballer

Bale sided with his longtime teammate Ronaldo as the most complete player.
Bale (inset) sided with his longtime teammate Ronaldo (left) as the most complete player.

Real Madrid legend Gareth Bale claimed in 2013 that Cristiano Ronaldo was a more complete player than Lionel Messi. The Welshman announced his retirement from club and international football today (January 9).

Bale, 33, played alongside Ronaldo at Madrid for four seasons. He lavished praise on the Portuguese icon when comparing him with Messi a decade ago.

In an interview with Life's a Pitch, he said:

"For me, personally, I’d say Ronaldo (is a more complete player). He’s got the whole package. He’s strong; he’s powerful; he’s pacey, can head the ball, strike the ball. Obviously, you can’t say anything bad about Messi, but for the all-round complete footballer, I’d say Cristiano Ronaldo."

Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in the history of Madrid; he is the La Liga club's record goalscorer with 450 goals in 438 appearances. The Portuguese won the UEFA Champions League five times, including three times in a row alongside Bale.

Ronaldo is renowned for his pace, physicality and heading abilities. Many use the latter aspect when arguing which of him and Messi is more complete. However, the Argentine has also wowed fans since making his debut for Barcelona in 2004.

Messi has just won the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, finishing with the Golden Ball after scoring seven goals and providing three assists in seven appearances. Meanwhile, his Portuguese rival managed just one goal in five games.

Ronaldo dreamed of facing Messi in final of 2022 FIFA World Cup

Argentina won the trophy.
Argentina won the trophy.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave an explosive interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan a few days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He touched on several subjects in his career, including his rivalry with Argentina's captain.

The Al-Nassr forward spoke glowingly of Messi while admitting that it would be a dream for Portugal to beat Argentina in the final of the FIFA World Cup.

Morgan gave Ronaldo a scenario in which Selecao beat La Abiceleste 3-2 in the final (via the Mirror):

“So what about this idea? You get to the final, Portugal v Argentina; you score two, Messi scores two. Last minute you score a third for your hat-trick. … is that the dream?”

The Portuguese smirked and responded:

“Too good.”

It was, in fact, too good to be true as Portugal made a disappointing exit in the quarterfinals in a 1-0 defeat to Morocco. The exit epitomized the Selecao captain's performance in the competition in Qatar, who bagged just one goal in five games.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett