Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Louis Van Gaal Ends GOAT Debate With Controversial Claim

Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Louis Van Gaal Ends GOAT Debate With Controversial Claim

Isaac Darko
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:29 PM
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  • The Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate has dominated the football space for years now
  • Louis Van Gaal has delved into the never-ending argument, with the Dutchman surprisingly picking Ronaldo over Messi
  • Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the football scene for years, with the pair sharing 12 Ballon d'Or titles between them

Louis van Gaal is among a number of high-ranking members of the football fraternity who have now delved into the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate.

The argument on who between the two football stars is the greatest of all time has often left many football lovers divided.

The debate has lasted for more than a decade now, with the pair dominating the football space during the period.

Louis Van Gaal, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, GOAT
Former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has commented on the GOAT debate between Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo. Photos by Quality Sport Images/Manuel Alvarez/Daniel Jayo
Source: Getty Images

After leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar four months ago, many fans and pundits have labelled Messi as the greatest of all time.

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However, it seems the PSG magician and Ronaldo continue to split opinions of footballing figures if Van Gaal's latest comments are anything to go by.

Van Gaal picks Ronaldo over Messi

Speaking on the legendary duo, the former Netherlands coach heaped praises on the two iconic superstars as the best players of their era.

Van Gaal, 71, then disclosed his preference for the Portuguese legend in the GOAT debate.

"And the big question, Messi or Cristiano? The best players of this period are Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Choosing between them is difficult," Van Gaal told Onda Cero, via Sportskeeda.
"Ronaldo has more results than Messi in titles. Messi has more individual awards, but Ronaldo is more of a team player. So you have to choose, I'm more of a team coach than an individual player. Messi may be the best football player, but you have to play as a team."

Why Van Gaal's claim is controversial

Van Gaal's declaration that Ronaldo is more of a team player than Messi will highly ignite debates among football-loving fans. This is because Ronaldo has been widely recognised as a more selfish player who cares more about individual glory.

Also, Messi passes the eye test as a player who is more involved in his team's play and consistently drops deep in midfield and dictates the tempo of the game.

The Argentine maestro creates more clear-cut chances for his teammates, with IFFHS naming Messi the Playmaker of the Year on five different occasions.

Gary Cahill speaks on GOAT debate

Meanwhile, former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has weighed in on the Ronaldo versus Messi debate but struggled to choose the better player.

Cahill's indecision looks quite honest as the two are close first and second in most football metrics and hard to separate.

The two are defying age and going strong. Both scored freekicks for their countries, Argentina and Portugal, in their last international games against Panama and Liechtenstein.

Heinze snubs Messi in GOAT debate

Sports Brief earlier reported that Gabriel Heinze snubbed Messi in the GOAT debate and instead went for Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo.

The former Argentina international played with Ronaldo for three years at Manchester United and with Messi in the national team but ignored his compatriot.

The 42-year-old said Ronaldo could not get better as he is already next to God in his abilities.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)