The 46-year-old retired England international who now works as a coach and a football pundit said Ronaldo is the most complete player that has ever played the game.
While explaining why Ronaldo is the greatest of all time, Gary Neville said if he was a coach and had one substitution left that could win him a game, and Messi and Ronaldo are on the bench, he would prefer to bring in Ronaldo.
He would make such a choice because Ronaldo could score with his left and right foot. The 36-year-old football star can also score with his head and from a long distance.
“I looked at his goal breakdown”, Gary Neville said. “He can score with his left foot, his wrong foot. He can score with his right foot. He can score from distance. He is probably the best poacher now in world football.
“He can score penalties. And if you stick him in the box and hang it up there he will go and score with a header. He might even score with a free kick.
“So if you think about who is the greatest player of all time, I do think he is the greatest football player who has ever lived. He is the player who could win me a football match in the most different ways. He is the most complete player.”
Gary Neville spent his football career at Manchester United between 1992 to 2011. This means that the retired football star has played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for 6 years before the Portuguese football icon left him at Old Trafford to join Real Madrid in 2009.
While giving more reasons why he thinks Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest of all time, Neville who had coached Valencia and served as England’s assistant coach, said there are three differences between Ronaldo and Messi.
The three differences according to Neville are the number of goals Ronaldo had scored with his left foot, his head, and the number of penalties he has converted.
“There is no doubt that Messi has scored an obscene amount of goals, he is a ridiculous player,” added Neville.
“But Ronaldo, the three big differences are the headers, that Ronaldo has scored four or five times more, the wrong-footed goals, that Ronaldo has scored 30 or 40 percent more, and he has scored more penalties.
“It just took me to the point where he is more complete.
“The international goals, the Champions League wins, in teams that were not as good as the teams that Messi played in, just takes me to the point where I think he is the greatest player of all time.”
Jamie Carragher disagrees with Gary Neville, declares Lionel Messi the greatest of all time
As expected, Jamie Carragher who serves as a Sky Sports pundit just like Gary Neville said Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time.
The 43-year-old football legend who played for Liverpool throughout his football career between 1996 and 2013, argued with Neville that it does not matter how a goal is scored.
In his judgment, Carragher said Messi has a better goal record than Ronaldo, stressing that the Portuguese star who he has played against for over 5 seasons is not the greatest of all time.
“You are talking about the different types of goals,” Carragher told Monday Night Football on Sky Sports.
“It does not matter how a ball goes in the net. It does not matter if one is a header or a free-kick. Messi has a better goal record than Ronaldo.
“Messi is also a playmaker. Messi can run a game. Ronaldo cannot do that. Again, not a criticism. But there is no way in the world he is the greatest player of all time.
“You talk about who you would want coming off the bench. Messi has scored double the amount of goals coming off the bench. It is a ridiculous thing to say. It does not matter if Messi’s goals all come with his left foot, the stats prove he has more chance of scoring.
“Two wonderful players. In terms of all the attributes, Ronaldo is a more complete player. He can do things that Messi can’t in terms of his weaker foot and the air.
“But Messi can take you to a place where you can’t believe what you are seeing. What Ronaldo does is what other players can do, Messi can do things you have never seen before.”
Greatest of all time: below is the goals record of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Manchester United returnee Cristiano Ronaldo who has played for three clubs in three major leagues across Europe has made 896 official club appearances in all competitions.
In those games, the 5-times Ballon d’Or winner has scored 676 goals. Ronaldo scored 441 of those goals with his right foot, 123 goals with his left foot, and 110 using his head.
Also, the Portuguese football icon scored 583 of his goals inside the eighteen-yard box, 93 goals outside the box, 125 via penalties, 47 as direct free kicks, and has recorded 48 hat-tricks in his club football career.
On the other hand, Lionel Messi who spent over 17 seasons at FC Barcelona before he moved to Paris Saint Germain this summer is regarded as one of the greatest of all time due to his prolific goalscoring records.
The 34-year-old Argentine football icon has played 779 times in their club football career. In those games, he has scored 672 goals. He scored 89 of his goals with his right foot. While he scored 557 of his goals with his left foot.
The record 6-times Ballon d’Or scored 24 of his goals with his head, 555 of his goals came from inside the box, and 117 of his goals came from outside the box.
More so, Messi has scored 82 penalties, 50 direct free kicks, and has recorded 48 hat tricks.