Zinedine Zidane is among the footballing greats to have provided their verdict on the Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi debate. A few years ago, the Real Madrid legend chose the Portuguese icon over the Argentinean maestro in the debate for the ages.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly two of the best footballers of their generation. The two have won 12 Ballon d'Or awards between them, as well as a plethora of other trophies with club and country.
Messi recently fortified his legacy by leading Argentina to glory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has been forced to move away from European football, joining Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
Despite the contrast in their recent fortunes, Messi and Ronaldo continue to divide opinion in the football world. Apart from fans, many legends of the game have expressed their thoughts on the debate over the years.
Zidane is one such footballing personality who has weighed in on the Ronaldo versus Messi debate in the past. The France legend's views on who prefers between the two forwards have now resurfaced online.
The former Juventus superstar had acknowledged the rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi as captivating. However, he had then revealed that he believed the Portuguese icon was the greatest of all time.
Zidane was quoted as saying by GOAL:
"Cristiano is the best. Messi is his rival and it's the rivalry everyone wants to see. But Ronaldo is phenomenal. There are no words to describe him. He is much better than me even though I had a great career. He's the greatest of all time."
Zidane's history with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Zidane, who plied his trade for Real Madrid as a footballer, managed Los Blancos for four years over two spells. Cristiano Ronaldo notably played under the Frenchman during his first stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo played 114 matches with Zidane, scoring 112 goals in the process. The 50-year-old led Real Madrid to three Champions League triumphs and a La Liga title during that period.
Zidane crossed paths with Lionel Messi, who previously plied his trade for Barcelona, during his stint with the Madrid giants. It is also worth noting that they also played against each other in an El Clasico match in 2005.
Lionel Messi made his senior debut for Barcelona in 2004, while Zidane hung up his boots in 2006. Thus, they only played against each other once.