MUMBAI: The age-old debate of who is the better footballer between, arguably two of the best the world has ever seen – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, could not be evaded by the FIFA legends who gathered at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai for the unveiling of the FIFA u-17 World Cup trophy on Wednesday.
FIFA legends Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amunike participated in an exhibition match before they were put on the spot with regards to picking the better from the best. Three times Champions League winner, Fernando Morientes did not hesitate to state his obvious favourite.
“The way it works in Spain is simple. If you support Barcelona, you would pick Messi but if you support Madrid, you pick Ronaldo. I played for Real Madrid for eight years and enjoyed my time with Ronaldo so for me it is always Ronaldo,” said the former Los Blancos forward.
Ex-Colombian international, Carlos Valderrama, differed from his teammate on the day. “For me it would have to be Messi.
Both players are different but I would pick Messi if I had to,” said the man who won more than 100 caps for Colombia. While Morientes and Valderrama had clear picks, rest of the legends were on the fence with their answers.
World Cup winner Marcel Dessaily compared the two superstars of the game to Diego Maradona and Pelé. “Look at the statistics these two have racked up, it is amazing. You may like Messi because he is quiet or Ronaldo because he is a bit of a show off, but they are creating history like Pelé and Maradona,” said the former Chelsea man.
“Both players are different from each other and we should be happy to see them play in the same generation. It will be difficult to see this again as they have managed to create a lot of competition,” said former Nigerian international, Emmanuel Amunike.
One of the few players to have played on either end of the pitch, Mexican legend Jorge Campos took a tactical approach to the debate. “I think both players are good but to pick one would depend on the system,” said Campos, who started off as a goalkeeper but also played as a striker.