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When Lionel Messi Named the Player Who Is 'On His Level'
- Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi once made a notable remark about the GOAT
- The 2022 World Cup winner had his own take on who the best footballer really is
- The argument between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will likely continue for years
One of the enduring debates in global football revolves around the concept of the greatest of all time, with many across the sport's spectrum attempting to discern the most exceptional player in history.
Inquire about the top footballer and numerous names emerge: Diego Maradona, Pele, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, Oliver Kahn, Gianluigi Buffon, and the roster continues.
However, the discourse around the GOAT title over the last couple of decades has consistently revolved around two legendary football veterans: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
According to Sportbible, the superstar duo are widely regarded as the football GOATs, thanks to what they have achieved over the years in their respective careers.
Even remarkable milestones like Messi's triumph at the 2022 World Cup with La Albiceleste or the multitude of goal-scoring records set by the 38-year-old Ronaldo have been unable to settle the debate conclusively.
According to GOAL, the pair has been at the forefront of global football dominance with an astounding 12 Ballon d'Or awards between them.
The Argentine has won seven times while the Portuguese has earned five.
Messi names the greatest players
However, when questioned about a player he deems on par with his own greatness, Messi had only one name in his thoughts: his famed rival, Ronaldo.
Back in 2019, Messi told Radio 94.7's Club Octubre, via Football Espana:
"There are so many good players now. Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard, any of them could become the best in the world. I didn’t include [Ronaldo] in that list because I consider him to be on the same level as me. It was fun to play against him, even if he made me suffer too. It irritated me seeing Real Madrid lift trophies."
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This quote served to highlight the mutual respect between the two veterans, with Ronaldo declaring their rivalry is over, per a recent report by Sports Brief.
Ronaldo lauds Messi
Sports Brief also reported that in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo hailed Messi and Zinedine Zidane as two of the greatest he had ever witnessed.
The bombshell sit-down, which contributed to the Portuguese veteran's bitter split from Manchester United, also included a number of fascinating Ronaldo comments.