It’s the age old debate: Messi or Ronaldo. No, you can’t just ‘appreciate them both’, you have to pick a side. Do you prefer the great dribbler, creator and goalscorer extraordinaire, Lionel Messi, or the relentless, physical specimen and goalscoring phenomenon that is Cristiano Ronaldo? Which?
All of us have our view, but if you’re in the game at the highest level, it’s probably wise to keep that view secret when asked and use the diplomatic “they’re both fucking fantastic” answer.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui was not so wise.
“Messi is the best player in history”, the coach once said in 2017. “He has extraordinary players and a coach which has given him a plus”, he added.
The year prior to that comment, he voted for Messi to win the Ballon d’Or over Ronaldo.
A perfectly legitimate opinion to hold, but one that could create tension in the dressing room when he takes over as Real Madrid boss after the World Cup.
Ronaldo is a player who needs to know that his peers consider him to be the best. It’s highly likely that once word gets round to him, he won’t take it well.
He will have a chance to prove his future coach wrong at the World Cup when Spain play against Portugal in the group stage.