- Lionel Messi has received backing from Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag as the best player in the world
- Ten Hag had a bitter fallout with Messi's rival Cristiano Ronaldo before the start of the World Cup last year
- Ronaldo mentioned categorically he did not respect the former Ajax head coach
Erik ten Hag's fallout and the subsequent banishment of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United was one of the major stories in 2022.
Ten Hag arrived in England with a lot of promise and hope of turning around a club whose fortunes had dwindled since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. His first obstacle was winning the dressing room like every manager and a great deal of that involved dealing with Ronaldo.
Ronaldo's issues with ten Hag
Ronaldo missed ten Hag's maiden preseason tour with a family issue being cited as the reason. Thereafter he struggled to break into the Dutchman's starting XI. Things reached a breaking point when he conducted an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
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The five-time Ballon d'Ór winner exited the club having made it clear he doesn't respect the manager. Ten Hag has now added a new dimension after appearing to back Lionel Messi as the better player over Ronaldo.
The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry needs no introduction. Sports personalities have always made their opinions known on who they think is the better player. From ten Hag's latest comments, he seems to be a fan of the Argentine.
Messi winning the World Cup
Like many football fans, ten Hag was moved by Messi's latest heroics in Qatar where he finally won the World Cup. The Manchester United manager was speaking on the importance of playing as a team unless you are the PSG star.
"There is only one Messi, we saw that at the World Cup. The rest have to work and be part of a team." as quoted by Tribuna.
Ten Hag's statement will give rise to questions about Ronaldo's attitude during his five months under him. The Portuguese star was always criticized in some quarters for being selfish especially after walking off the pitch during a Premier League game at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo has since moved to Al-Nassr seemingly ending his long and highly successful stint in Europe.
Sports Brief reported that Cristiano Ronaldo proved there is more to his game than just scoring goals for fun and iconic celebrations during Al-Nassr's 1-0 win against Al-Etiffaq.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward has often been accused of being self-centred for not thoroughly celebrating the goals of his teammates.
But on Sunday, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner put those accusations to bed when he gleefully celebrated Anderson Talisca's strike, which proved to be the winning goal. Ronaldo, who was making his official league appearance in the Saudi Pro League, was seen rejoicing with his new striker partner.