Cristiano Ronaldo called himself the greatest footballer of all time in 2017, but it was all too much for Barcelona legend Xavi to hear.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are sadly edging ever closer to their end of their illustrious careers. Ronaldo turns 39 in February, while Messi celebrated his 36th birthday in June. Regardless of what happens between now and the days they retire, both superstars have secured their places on the pantheon of all-time greats alongside Pele and Diego Maradona.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo has made no secret of his desire to become the greatest footballer ever. Messi, on the other hand, has always insisted that’s never been a personal objective for him. How people remember him is down to each individual.
In terms of Ballon d’Or awards, Messi now leads the way with a record-breaking eight to his name following his latest triumph this week. The Inter Miami forward has secured three more Ballons d’Or since Ronaldo won the prestigious individual accolade for a fifth time in 2017. Asked if he believes he’s the greatest footballer in history, Messi responded: “As I always said, I do not know if I am the best player in history or not. If I am one of the best, then this is a wonderful thing.”
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017: ‘I’m the best player in history’
However, after Ronaldo sealed the 2017 Ballon d’Or, the Portuguese forwardraised eyebrows with some rather forthright commentshe made to France Football. “I don’t see anyone better than me,” Ronaldo said at the time, per The Independent. “No player does things that I cannot do myself, but I see things others can’t do. There’s no more complete player than me. I’m the best player in history – in the good and the bad moments.”
Cristiano Ronaldo to @francefootball: “I don’t see anyone better than me. No player does things that I cannot do myself, but I see things others can’t do. There’s no more complete player than me. I’m the best player in history — in the good and the bad moments” 😳 pic.twitter.com/z8ZOpSpx7k
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKay) December 8, 2017
Xavi’s response to Ronaldo’s comments
Ronaldo’s commentsprompted a response from Barcelona legend Xavi, who was playing for Al Sadd at the time and is now the head coach at Camp Nou. “Messi does more things compared to Cristiano,” the World Cup winner insisted during an interview with Tot Costa de Catalunya Ràdio, per AS. “Messi is the best.”
Xavi continued: “If Cristiano considers himself the best player in history, that’s fine, but those of us who see him train, there is no comparison. Messi is the best in history and we don’t see it any other way.”
Xavi, who went head-to-head with Ronaldo for club and country on numerous occasions during his own glittering career, added: “I imagine all of the managers in the world going out to stop Messi. Even if you do what Athletic Club did, man-mark him like in the Copa del Rey final, they still come out on top. He can’t be defended against.
“Messi is the difference-maker and we always tried to give the ball to him in space with time to unbalance them. Messi is the player that makes the most difference in the world. It’s more than obvious.”