The former Red Devils defender was quick to hail his ex-team-mate as the finest to ever play the game, though fellow pundit Jamie Carragher disagreed
Cristiano Ronaldo is “the greatest player of all time” according to former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville, with the ex-right-back giving his former Old Trafford colleague the edge over rival Lionel Messi.
The dream homecoming of the Portuguese to the Theatre of Dreams was a reality with a brace in his second Premier League debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team’s win over Newcastle.
Ex-Red Devils defender Neville hails his ex-teammate and believes he is the best ever to play the game. He has also highlighted his superior flexibility as goal scorer as the crucial advantage over Paris Saint-Germain attacker Messi.
What has been said?
“Look, there’s no doubt that Messi’s scored an obscene amount of goals,” Neville stated on Sky Sports ahead of Everton and Burnley’s Premier League game on Monday. “He’s a ridiculous player.
“[But] Ronaldo has scored between 30-40% more goals with his wrong foot, and he’s taken more penalties. It just took me to the point where he was more complete with the most important part the game.
“The international record of the most international goals ever is what really pushes it over the edge. The fact that he’s won five Champions Leagues with teams that aren’t even as good as Messi’s team…”
“Messi’s won more league titles with that Barcelona team, but I just feel that the international goal record and the Champions Leagues, aligned with the variety of goals that he scores, even though they’re very similar [in overall numbers], takes me to think that he is the greatest player of all time.
Carragher rubbishes Ronaldo honour
Fellow pundit Jamie Carragher was quick to shoot down Neville’s suggestion, however, with the former Liverpool man stating that he could not look past Messi, owing to the Argentine’s skilled game management.
“No one’s not a huge fan of Ronaldo or Messi, [but] Ronaldo’s not the greatest player of all-time,” the Reds legend stated. “I’m going to say that it’s his mate here,
“You’re talking about the difference of type of goals. It doesn’t really matter how the ball lands in the net. Ronaldo has a better goal record, but Messi has a better one. Ronaldo can’t run a game, but Messi can.
“Messi, as a player, can take you to a place that you can’t believe what you see. Ronaldo can do things that no other player can. Messi can do things you’ve never seen before.
The bigger picture
Both Ronaldo and Messi will have the chance to further increase their stake for the subjective honour of the world’s greatest player when they get back to Champions League action this week.
As this year’s tournament begins with the group stage, the pair will be competing for Europe’s largest club crown alongside United and PSG.
PSG will be at Club Brugge while United will face Young Boys.