Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his belief that Cristiano Ronaldo represented the biggest improvement in any player he had during his time at Old Trafford, and hinted that he thought the Real Madrid star was better than long-term rival Lionel Messi.
In quotes relayed by the Glasgow Evening Times, the legendary Scot told how Ronaldo could be expected to continue his ridiculously high goals-to-games ratio no matter what club he was playing for, whereas Messi’s brilliance could be restricted to Barcelona.
On top of that Ferguson claimed that Ronaldo’s evolution from skinny teenage winger to arguably one of the best players he had during his time managing United, could not be matched by any of the other charges the Scot looked after either before or after his transfer from Sporting Lisbon.
"Ronaldo is tough. People say 'who is the best player in the world' and plenty of people quite rightly say Messi," he said.
"You can't dispute that opinion. But the thing about Ronaldo, Ronaldo could play for Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers or anyone and he'd score a hat-trick. I'm not sure Messi could do it.
"Ronaldo's got two feet, he's quick, he's good in the air and he's brave, though Messi's brave too, of course. I just think Messi is a Barcelona player.
"Ronaldo is the biggest improvement I ever had at Manchester United really because he came as a young skinny kid at 17.
"And yes, he had stuff such as diving which people used to criticise him but, once he got out on the training field, he was fantastic,"
Judging from the statistics and how Ronaldo has improved Ferguson makes a fairly substantiated claim all things considered. Not only has Ronaldo proven himself to be one of the best in the world since switching to Real, but his exploits before goal over the past few years detail a significant improvement from when he first burst onto the scene at Old Trafford.
As for the conclusions regarding the Portuguese forward’s comparisons with Messi, that’s where Ferguson might meet some bitter opposition. The diminutive Barcelona superstar has never been anything but exceptional at the Nou Camp and though he’s never proven himself elsewhere there’s plenty who would be happy to see him pegged as the greatest player to ever don a pair of football boots.
In truth fans are fortunate to see Ronaldo and Messi in their respective pomps, particularly as the pair operate at clubs who share a great domestic rivalry. Whereas Ronaldo’s ability is marked by incredible stats and powerful approach his counterpart catches the eye with fluid runs and the very most aesthetically pleasing showcases of technique.
In many ways it’s unfair to compare the two whilst they’re still playing, though Messi’s younger age might give him them advantage eventually.
With his decision to move clubs more than once during his career Ronaldo might have shown that he is capable of adapting his skill-set to different countries and styles of play, which is itself another majorly beneficial trait, but Messi’s one-club man status has given him the security and routine to be assured of being world-class for a good many years yet.
Football fans, is it possible to choose who is better of the two? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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