The Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo GOAT debate continues to dominate headlines. In an interesting twist, legendary chess player and Real Madrid fan Magnus Carlsen, who once declared the Portuguese as his favourite player, has said that he was forced to say so by the club.
Carlsen was a huge supporter of Real Madrid during the Ronaldo era, particularly when the attacker's rivalry with Messi was at its peak. Despite his affiliation with Los Blancos, Carlsen feels the Barcelona legend is the better of the two players and has decided to make it known now.
The Norwegian grandmaster and five-time world chess champion is said to have an IQ of 190. Speaking in the Lex Fridman podcast, he was asked to name the greatest player of all time. Without hesitation, he took the name of the former Barcelona maestro Messi.
“I think it’s pretty hard to make a case for anybody else than (Lionel) Messi for his all-round game,” he said.
Carlsen further spoke about his Real Madrid affection, saying that even though he liked Ronaldo, he always opined that Messi was better. He said:
“My Real Madrid fandom sort of predates the Ronaldo era – the second Ronaldo, not the first one (Ronaldo Nazario). I always liked Ronaldo, but I always kind of thought that Messi was better."
The Norwegian then spoke Real Madrid asking him to mention Ronaldo as his favourite player during interviews.
“I went to quite a number of Madrid games, and they’ve always been super helpful to me down there," he said. "The only thing is that they were going to do an interview and they were going to ask me who my favourite player was. I said somebody else, I think it was Isco at that point, and they were like: ‘Okay, take two, now you say Ronaldo’. So for them it was very important, but it wasn’t that huge to me.”
Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi in GOAT debate: Who has the edge?
Cristiano Ronaldo leads in terms of overall goals scored. The 37-year-old has 815 goals to his name for club and country, compared to his rival's tally of 773. The Argentine, however, leads the assists chart with 369, which is far more than his counterpart's tally of 253.
The Argentine also has more trophies (41:30), Ballon d'Or awards (7:5), and more European Golden Shoes (6:4), among others. For this reason, he is considered by many to have a slight edge in the GOAT debate at the moment.
This season, Messi has scored four times in five games across competitions for PSG, Ronaldo is yet to open his account after four games for Manchester United.