Messi or Ronaldo? When Mesut Ozil Settled the Endless GOAT Debate

Messi or Ronaldo? When Mesut Ozil Settled the Endless GOAT Debate

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at October 15, 2023 at 6:06 PM
In this article:
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Mesut Özil logo
M. Özil
Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü logoMGermany logo
Spanish La Liga logo
SPA La Liga
  • The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi GOAT debate will never end
  • Even with a World Cup win, Lionel Messi is still not universally proclaimed as the GOAT
  • Ronaldo's former Real Madrid Mesut Ozil once made his pick in the debate

The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi GOAT debate has dominated barstools, barbershops, sports talk shows and social media for years, and no side is willing to compromise.

Mesut Ozil, who turns 35 today, October 15, once gave an interesting answer to the eternal debate. He played with Ronaldo for three seasons at Real Madrid and saw him become an icon in the sport.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Lionel Messi, Real Madrid, World Cup
Ronaldo vs Messi GOAT debate has raged for years. Photos by Ira Black/Corbis and VI Images.
Source: Getty Images

Both players have scored loads of goals and won plenty of trophies, and their longevity at the highest level is almost unmatched in football history.

No comparison can do justice to their impact and greatness. However, there's one trophy that fans feel separates the two icons: the World Cup trophy.

Messi played a starring role in last year's 2022 World Cup to help Argentina lift their third global title.

At 38, time is running out for Ronaldo to match Messi's World Cup glory. Still, Ronaldo proponents refuse to concede to Team Messi.

Ozil wieghs in on GOAT debate

In 2021, Ozil gave his answer in the GOAT debate. He was answering a Q&A on X (Formerly Twitter).

"Messi has proven himself to be one of the best ever in Spain, but Ronaldo was always the best in every country he's played in!" he wrote, adding a winking emoji.

When he retired in March 2023, Ozil told Spanish outlet Marca that his ex-teammate Ronaldo was the best player of all time.

"It was very fun to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, who for me is the best player of all time. We both understood each other very well on the field, it was perfect. I assisted and he scored. Giving passes to a player who almost never failed was a gift."

Ozil is considered the greatest playmaker of his generation. He retired at 35 with nine trophies, including the La Liga and the 2014 World Cup.

When Ozil scored iconic goal

Sports Brief earlier looked back at Ozil's sensational goal for Arsenal in the Champions League against Ludogorets in 2016.

The game was finely poised at 2-2 after a flurry of goals in the first half, and up stepped Ozil, the playmaker from Germany.

In the 87th minute, the playmaker showed breathtaking composure to score one of the greatest goals in the Champions League.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.