Former Germany international Arne Friedrich has stated that Lionel Messi was a more difficult opponent for him to mark than Cristiano Ronaldo.
The last 15 years have witnessed intense debates over who the better of the two is. Friedrich has now weighed in with his opinion.
Speaking to Goal.com, the former defender said:
“I was able to play against both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, If I had to commit myself to one, it would be Messi. He has a different centre of gravity, Ronaldo is more my size. Both are at the same level, but Messi was harder to defend for me because he had a different style of play.”
In a professional career spanning 13 years, Friedrich represented a host of Bundesliga clubs and made 83 appearances with the German national team.
He believes he did well against top stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, saying:
“I really liked it when I could concentrate on the defensive side of things against good opponents and shut them down.
“I had more problems when I didn't have much to do on the defensive side and a lot of space up front. That wasn't my greatest strength.”
Is it possible to know who is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
There is no set yardstick to answer this question. However, what cannot be argued is that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have written their names in the annals of football as two of the greatest players of all time.
Their performance levels over the last 15 years have been unbelievable, and their longevity is unrivaled throughout the history of the game.
Certain nuances, like club performance or international trophies, have been used as an attempt to classify the two. While this might give one the edge over another, we almost always come full circle when other parameters are considered.
Ultimately, it might be impossible to determine who the better player is. Every camp is adamant that their preferred player is better, and their claims are very much valid.
With time running out in both men's careers, a better approach will be to appreciate the significance of having watched both men in their prime at the same time.