Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: 5 Top Managers Who Weighed in on the GOAT Debate

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: 5 Top Managers Who Weighed in on the GOAT Debate

Isaac Darko
September 26, 2023 at 10:09 PM
  • Many iconic managers have weighed in on the timeless Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo debate
  • These managers have lauded Messi for his natural talent, while Ronaldo has garnered admiration for his athleticism
  • Here are five legendary managers who answered the GOAT debate

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly two of the greatest players in the history of football.

However, the perennial question remains: who surpasses the other?

The argument over which of the two football superstars is the greatest of all time has consistently divided many across the sports' spectrum.

The GOAT debate has lasted for more than a decade now, with Ronaldo and Messi dominating the football space during the period.

 5 top managers who settled the GOAT debate, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Vicente Del Bosque, Diego Simeone, Joachim Low
Jose Mourinho, Vicente Del Bosque and Diego Simeone are among top five managers who have all answered the never-ending Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate. Photos by Ivan Romano/Angel Martinez/Jasper Juinen
Source: Getty Images

The two veterans have engaged in numerous on-field clashes throughout their careers, most notably in fierce El Clasico battles for Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.

Both players have been recurring contenders at the Ballon d'Or awards as well. Despite their rivalry, however, they have mostly maintained a relationship of mutual respect.

Numerous renowned managers from around the world have weighed in on this debate in the past.

Notable figures such as Alex Ferguson, Diego Simeone, and Jurgen Klopp are among the high-profile coaches who have shared their views.

Sports Brief has listed five legendary managers and their opinions on the matter.

Jose Mourinho

In 2013, Mourinho declared Ronaldo as the best player. However, three years later, he listed Messi among his top three greatest players of all time, omitting Ronaldo.

Nevertheless, in a 2019 interview with BeIN Sports, Mourinho declined to single out a favourite between the two.

“I think it’s unfair to both of them when somebody [says] this one is better than the other one. I think they are just different,” he commented. "When you go to Messi and Ronaldo, I think it’s just unfair to compare the players. The only thing I can say is that when I had Ronaldo on my side, I was a very happy man. And when I had to play against Messi - and also against Ronaldo because I played against Ronaldo a few times - I had to think a lot to try and help my team have chances to succeed.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has consistently expressed admiration for Messi on various occasions in the past.

The Liverpool manager even disclosed in 2018 that he kept a special picture of himself with the Argentina international on his phone.

"I have only one selfie on my smartphone. That is with Messi. Cristiano was in the room as well…," said Klopp via LFCTV.

Diego Simeone

In a leaked WhatsApp clip from 2018, Simeone seemed as though Simeone was asserting that Ronaldo was superior to Messi.

Simeone acknowledged that his comments revolved around his analysis of Argentina's decline and Messi's role in the World Cup.

The discussion, which took place between Simeone and his Atletico assistant, German Burgos, following Argentina's loss to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup, gained significant attention and went viral.

However, he promptly clarified those remarks and stated that his fellow countryman was, in fact, the better player.

"If I had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo then most likely I would choose Messi," Simeone told reporters, per Goal.
"When I talked about Messi and Ronaldo it wasn't from the perspective of who is the best in the world. I just meant that if you have the chance to sign one of them for a normal club, with normal players, Ronaldo would probably fit in better. But with Messi, surrounded by great players, Messi is better than Ronaldo."

Vicente Del Bosque

Vicente del Bosque made an effort to persuade Lionel Messi to represent La Roja before he officially committed to Argentina.

Del Bosque, who presided over Spain's most triumphant era, leading the team to their debut World Cup victory in 2010 and successfully defending the European Championships in 2012, shared his deep respect for Messi.

In an interview with Radio Marca, via 90Min, Del Bosque acknowledged Messi's exceptional talent and confessed that he had endeavoured to convince Messi to play for Spain instead of Argentina.

"The best player I have ever seen is Messi. Between Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, I'll take Messi. Of all the players I have known in so many years in football, for me, Messi, for his consistency and his quality as a player, has been impressive. He has had some fantastic seasons and has always led his team forward," he said.

Joachim Low

Joachim Low prefers Messi to Ronaldo, believing the Inter Miami forward is a more 'complete player'.

According to Low, he would rather have the Argentinian international in his side, despite lauding the Al-Nassr maestro.

Speaking to Bild, via beIN Sports, the 53-year-old said:

"I would stick with Messi. "Cristiano Ronaldo is sensational, a very good professional, an incredible goalscoring machine for many years, but Messi is the most complete player I have seen.

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.

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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)
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