• News

Carragher gives his verdict on the Ronaldo-Messi GOAT debate

Cristiano Ronaldo, Jamie Carragher, Lionel Messi
Getty Images

The former Liverpool star has given a conflicted opinion of the never-ending GOAT debate between Ronaldo and Messi.

Jamie Carragher rates Lionel Messi as the better player, but the former defender turned pundit claims he may have ‘more respect for Cristiano Ronaldo’.

The ex-Liverpool center-back regularly squared off against Ronaldo during the Portuguese’s days at Manchester United, while he also faced a young Messi on two occasions in the 2006/07 Champions League.

The pair have since embarked on incredible careers since they last faced Carragher, who retired in 2013.

But when pressed for an answer on who is the better player, Carragher told the Pure Football Podcast: “Messi, I’ve never changed that. I think I’m with the majority on that.

“I think I have possibly more respect for Ronaldo and the reason I say that is because he has got unbelievable talent but his mentality, his focus, his work rate has made him what he is, or got him to where he is, has taken him to another level.

“Whenever you think he’s finished or Messi’s done something amazing, he comes back with something again and again and again.

“And it must have been tough for him at times. Even when he was at late stages at United, early days at Madrid where no matter what he did, people would say Messi, Messi, Messi. I think now it’s a bit more even.

“But I think with all those Ballons d’Or Messi was winning, even when Ronaldo was playing out of his skin. But he still came back for more and that’s what I respect so much.”

Ronaldo has recently taken his career tally to 760 goals for club and country. But as impressive as that they be, but Messi’s pure talent is something else to Carragher.

He added: “What I would say is, Ronaldo does things that other players can do but he does them more often. He scores more goals but I think Messi does things that other players can’t do.

“So you see Ronaldo score a great goal and you think, ‘Okay, well I’ve seen that before.’ Ronaldo does it so often but Messi, the way he dribbles and runs with the ball, you very rarely see that in football now.

“I mean most teams don’t even have a dribbler in the team anymore now. You don’t see anyone run with the ball so… he does things that professional footballers are open-mouthed with, that’s the best way to describe it.

“It’s not just supporters, it’s top players thinking, ‘I can’t believe that. I can’t believe he’s done that.’ And that spell with Pep (Guardiola) going into Luis Enrique, that era of like seven, eight years when Barcelona were just off the scale, what Messi was doing.

“That’s what I’d always go for Messi because he does things that other players can’t and leave them open-mouthed.”