The debate over who is the greatest player of all time between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has raged for years and will continue to do so for many more years to come.
Throughout their careers, the two players have broken record after record and are not likely to stop anytime soon even though they have passed their prime. At the moment, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still going strong at the ages of 37 and 34, respectively.
Despite all they have done in the game of football, former Ajax and AC Milan striker, Marco van Basten stressed that they are in his top three of the greatest players of all time.
Marco van Basten was a fantastic player in his own time. The Dutchman is considered one of the best strikers in the sport’s history. During his career, he won the Ballon d’Or three times (1988, 1989, 1992). With AC Milan, he won three European Cups, and with Holland, he won Euro 1988.
According to Marco van Basten, Lionel Messi is a far superior player to Cristiano Ronaldo. He doesn’t believe there should even be a debate over who is the greatest of all time between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
“Cristiano is a great player, but those who say he is better than Messi knows nothing about football, or they are saying it in bad faith,” the 57-year-old told Corriere dello Sport.
“Messi is one of a kind. Impossible to imitate and impossible to repeat. A player like him comes along every 50 or 100 years. As a kid, he fell into the football genius pot.”
Even though he praised Messi, Marco Van Baste didn’t list the Argentinian in his top three greatest players.
“Pele, [Diego] Maradona, and [Johan] Cruyff are for me the three greatest players in history,” Van Basten told Marca. “As a kid, I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend. I miss him. Pele and Maradona were also incredible. Messi is also a great player, but Maradona always had more personality in a team. Messi is not the one who puts himself at the front to go to war.”
Van Basten also listed three other players, as well as Messi, just behind his top three. “I’m not forgetting Cristiano Ronaldo, [Michel] Platini, or [Zinedine] Zidane”, he added.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would look to continue their career next season in PSG and Manchester United respectively.
Messi made a dramatic move to PSG last season but failed to replicate his goal-scoring abilities. However, he won the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain, and the team got knocked out of the Champions League competition by Real Madrid in the last-16.
Ronaldo also returned to Manchester United last season. Although he scored a total of 18 goals in the Premier League, Ronaldo and Manchester United finished the season without a trophy and outside the Champions League spot.