"Who is this guy?" - When Cristiano Ronaldo gave strong reply to player who claimed he could have been better than Lionel Messi and Al-Nassr star

"Who is this guy?" - When Cristiano Ronaldo gave strong reply to player who claimed he could have been better than Lionel Messi and Al Nassr star
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Former Sporting Lisbon player Fabio Paim made the bold claim that he should have been as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Portuguese failed to live up to expectations and has admitted to not having his head in the game like he should have.

Messi and Ronaldo are two of the best players to ever grace the sport. However, Paim believes he was of a similar level. In an interview from 2023, the 36-year-old claimed he was a talented player with the world at his feet and that he could've won the Ballon d’Or.

Speaking on a podcast hosted by PT Clipes, Paim said:

"Cristiano Ronaldo should offer me one of his Ballon d’Ors, I went to Sporting when I was seven years old, I grew up there. They were years of glory in which I won everything I could. I didn't reach where I could have reached, but I marked a generation. If people don't forget it's because I marked them.”

He added:

"I said when I was happy that I thought Cristiano Ronaldo could offer me a Ballon d'Or, but it was with humility, If I had half of Cristiano's head, it wouldn't be him and Lionel Messi, It would be me, him and Messi and maybe he wouldn't have won the Ballon d'Or that he has. Maybe one of them was mine.”

Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be bemused by Paim’s bold claims, responding on Instagram:

“WTF. Who is this guy?”

Paim never showed any of the promise he claimed to have at senior level. Despite being courted by the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona as a youngster, he had a journeyman's career. The Estoril born winger went to Chelsea on loan as a 20-year-old and after a forgettable spell, had stints in Luxembourg, Malta and Lithuania.

What next for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to go strong late into their 30’s, proving the value of hard work and discipline. The pair lit up the European game with their talent and have claimed 13 Ballon d'Or awards between them.

Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the history of Barcelona, topping the club's all-time scoring and assist charts. He also led his nation Argentina to Copa America glory in 2020 and the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a legend of his nation Portugal, leading them to their only titles in international football — Euro 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019. The Portuguese is also the highest all-time goalscorer for Real Madrid, beating out legends of the game like Alfredo Di Stefano to the honor.

The legendary pair have left European football behind and are now enjoying the twilight of their careers on different continents. Ronaldo plays for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia where he scored 35 goals in 31 games to set a new league record at 39 years old. Messi now turns out for Inter Miami where he has bagged 25 goal involvements in 15 games this season at 36 years old.

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