Chelsea legend Frank Lampard picked Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo while naming the best player he ever played against. The former England international went on to name Ronaldinho as the second-best opponent he faced during his career.
During Lampard's time at Chelsea, the Blues faced off against Lionel Messi on numerous occasions and almost always found a way to stifle the Argentine. Messi missed a crucial penalty in the famous 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in 2012. Fernando Torres scored a late equalizer for Chelsea and helped the Blues reach the Champions League final that year.
Speaking on Coral’s All to Play For Podcast, Lampard was asked about his toughest opponent and he had no qualms picking Messi.
“There’s two that I would say – one is Messi, because I think he’s just the best. The other one is Ronaldinho, because in 2005, we went to the Nou Camp, it was my first encounter of a player on a different planet," Lampard said. "Him and (Samuel) Eto’o on that day, but particularly Ronaldinho’s movements, I was like, wow, this is different.”
Lampard said he left out Cristiano Ronaldo as the two never played each other at their peaks. Lampard reckons the Portuguese star was not at his best during his first stint at Manchester United, but acknowledged Ronaldo became 'ridiculous' after joining Real Madrid.
“I didn’t play Ronaldo at his peak. I played him at Man United and he was getting towards it, but not in those years at Madrid, where he was just ridiculous," Lampard said. "I feel bad with Cristiano Ronaldo, because what he has done in massive games, and winning finals and stuff; I think that’s such a tight call. I didn’t really come against him then, but I feel I did with Messi, and I never got near him – he was just amazing.”
Contrasting fortunes for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at their new clubs
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo switched clubs this summer under different circumstances. Messi was keen on remaining at Barcelona, but problems with the club's wage bill meant they could not sign him to a new contract. He departed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, made a return to Manchester United after signaling his intentions to leave Juventus.
The Portuguese has scored four times in three games for Manchester United since his return, but Messi is yet to find the back of the net for his new club.
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