Considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, the Englishman rated Lionel Messi above the likes of Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, and Xavi in his column in The Independent.
"I think about the great players with whom I have shared a pitch: Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Pirlo, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo -- and the greatest of them all is Lionel Messi."
Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest, says Paul Scholes
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes weighed in on the debate between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, suggesting the Argentina international is the best of all time. Scholes faced Messi four times in his career, as the pair enjoyed several well-fought battles on the pitch.
Scholes ended up on the losing side in two of those clashes in the Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011. However, the Red Devils pipped Barcelona on the way to winning the competition in 2008, with Scholes scoring the winner in the semi-final stage.
The deep-lying playmaker admitted in his column that he had fouled Messi in the box during the semi-final clash. However, the referee bailed out the former England international by waiving claims of a foul.
"It was a moment I will never forget. He went past me, I stuck out my leg and Lionel Messi went over. This was at Old Trafford in 2008 in the second leg of our Champions League semi-final against Barcelona and, with the score 1-0 to us, I had fouled him in our area."
"When I think about our win over Barcelona in that game, on our way to the second Champions League title of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, I always remember that tackle. Yes, I scored the only goal of the tie, and it was one of my better ones."
"But I will never forget that couple of seconds when the best footballer in the world deceived me into fouling him and I waited for the world to fall in. It should have been a penalty to Barcelona, and an away goal would have won them the tie."
"But for some reason the referee didn't give it, the game moved on and even Messi did not make much of a fuss. The relief was overwhelming for a few moments -- and then I was back into the game."
Scholes is one of the greatest midfielders in the history of the game and the fact that he chose Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo despite being teammates with the latter adds to the Argentine's greatness.
Published 13 Sep 2020, 16:01 IST