Spain legend Andres Iniesta Wades Into The Goat Debate Between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

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Spain legend and former Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has waded into the goat debate between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi
Andres Iniesta says the goat debate is settled

Andres Iniesta claimed that ‘with or without the World Cup,’ his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi is the greatest player that has ever lived and was a ‘deserved champion’ in Qatar.

After 18 years of professional football, Lionel Messi finally had his hands on the most coveted football trophy in the globe. The former Barcelona and PSG forward won everything possible in football throughout his heroic career but had to wait for 18 years before winning the World Cup trophy.

In 2014, Lionel Messi led Argentina to his first World Cup final in Brazil, but lost to Germany after Mario Gotze scored the winner to deny the Argentines a third World Cup trophy.

The 2018 World Cup was another nightmare for Lionel Messi and the Argentines as they were bundled out of the competition by France in round 16.

After a long wait, Messi led the national team to his first major international trophy – the 2021 Copa America in Brazil.

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The Copa America in Brazil was a prelude to what was to come for Argentina national team as the team prepared for the 2022 World Cup.

Going into the 2022 World Cup, Argentina were tipped as favourites to win the tournament alongside Brazil, Spain, Germany, and France. Ironically, the Albiceleste opened their World Cup campaign with a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia.

However, the loss was their only defeat in the tournament, as they went on to win their next two group matches against Mexico and Poland.

Lionel Messi led Argentina to round 16, quarterfinal, and semi-final wins to set up a World Cup final clash with 2018 World Cup foes, France.

He led Argentina to a historic World Cup final win over France, winning 4-2 on penalties. Messi finally had his hands on the World Cup trophy that had eluded him throughout his career.

Lionel Messi

At the heart of the goat debate in football was the World Cup trophy. Lionel Messi and his former La Liga rival Cristiano Ronaldo are the two players that have dominated the goat debate in football.

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Both players have won all possible trophies in club football, including continental trophies. Cristiano Ronaldo won Euro 2016 with Portugal, while Lionel Messi won Copa America in 2021.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was a stage for the two players to influence the goat debate as they approach the twilight of their football career.

While Portugal crashed out of the tournament, losing to Morocco in the quarterfinal, Lionel Messi led Argentina to the World Cup trophy, and emerged as the best player of the tournament, winning the Golden Ball award.

Lionel Messi

Messi was phenomenal for the Argentines throughout the tournament, scoring twice in the final.

While the goat debate has continued to rage among football fans and pundits, Lionel Messi’s former Barcelona teammate has waded into the debate after Messi won the World Cup trophy. Speaking to Marca, Andres Iniesta said: ‘For me, it was not necessary for Messi to win the World Cup to consider him the best. With or without a World Cup, he is the best.

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‘And I think that the person who didn’t believe it before winning the World Cup will continue to find some excuse to stick with the idea of ​​him.

‘But, in any case, I think that the title has been fully deserved not only for him but for all of Argentina.

‘By how he has competed himself. He started losing the first game; he endured that added pressure to what he already had. For me, he is the deserved champion.’

Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi were teammates at Barcelona and were the pivots during one of the most successful epochs in Barcelona’s football history.

Lionel Messi

The two players have a thousand appearances for the Catalans and have won 32 trophies between them while at Nou Camp.

Lionel Messi left the Catalans in 2021, joining PSG, while Andres Iniesta had left three years earlier, joining a Japanese club Vissel Kobe in 2018.

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