Long-time Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has today weighed in on the debate surrounding the world’s best footballer.
For a full decade now, the fight to be named the greatest player on the planet has been ongoing between Barcelona hero Lionel Messi and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The debate generally splits football fans worldwide, with the consistently mind-blowing goalscoring exploits of the duo making it tough for anyone to come to a real conclusion.
While the question divides supporters down the middle, it is often a different case when it comes to former players and pundits.
Most experts claim that while Cristiano Ronaldo’s greatness cannot be underestimated and that he is certainly an all-time great, he cannot compare to Messi when it comes to an all-round mastery of the game.
While Ronaldo often outdoes his great rival in terms of goalscoring accomplishments, the little Argentine generally comes out on top in every other category, with his vision, dribbling ability and penchant for creating something from nothing setting Messi apart as the greatest all of all-time in the eyes of many.
One man who certainly agrees with this sentiment is former Barca midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who shared 11 trophy-laden years alongside Messi at the Camp Nou.
Speaking in an interview with Marca today, the Spanish veteran explained:
‘Messi is a master in the collective and individual senses. But for Ronaldo, that kind of linking up takes a lot.’
‘Messi does everything well. If a coach were to say: ‘We’re going to play with us all running back’, then Messi would also be the best at that.’
‘If you ask Ronaldo to play with one or two touches then I don’t know if he would be the best.’
‘Ronaldo is [the best] as a shooter, he’s incredible at that and is a historic player. But with Messi you cannot compare.’
‘He is the best player at Barcelona and he would also be the best if playing for [Diego] Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.’