The ever-humble Rafael Nadal has always played down his own candidature for the GOAT title in tennis, despite having won 13th French Open titles and 20 Slams overall. In fact, the Mallorcan has often thrown his weight behind Roger Federer for that label.
But when it comes to football, Rafael Nadal has a clear idea about who the best is - Lionel Messi.
During a recent interview with El Periodic, Rafael Nadal came to the defense of Messi by asserting that the Barcelona forward still remains the greatest of all despite his recent dip in form.
Lionel Messi has had a poor start to the 2020-21 season for his club FC Barcelona. The Argentinian legend has just two goals to show for his efforts thus far, out of which only one was scored in the La Liga.
There have been plenty of murmurs recently about Messi’s decline, especially since he is 33 years old now.
But Rafael Nadal, who at 34 has scaled one of the greatest sporting landmarks at Roland Garros, knows a thing or two about greatness. Despite being an ardent fan of Real Madrid, Nadal had no hesitation in declaring that Lionel Messi would remain the ‘best player in the world’.
"Messi is not finished, perhaps he had better times than these last ones, but he will be back. In the end he will still be the best player in the world,” Nadal said.
Football, like everything in life, has lost a bit of interest: Rafael Nadal
Continuing on the topic of football and sports in general, Rafael Nadal painted a rather bleak picture for the industry. The Spaniard believes that while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the world at large has much greater issues to deal with than sport.
Nadal even claimed that he is no longer as passionate about football as he once was.
"Football, like everything in life, has lost a bit of interest, there are more important things and a more important rival is the virus that affects daily life,” Nadal continued.
At the same time, Rafael Nadal admitted that sport can act as a source of hope and distraction at a time of crisis. The four-time US Open champion opined that sport being a live event offers much more to people than films or TV shows, which are fictional.
"When we were locked up, people asked for tennis, football, golf. Sport has something unique that what you see is what there is, it is real,” Nadal asserted. “The movie, the series or what you read is fictional, the sport is what is happening right now.”Published 24 Oct 2020, 17:15 IST