The closest Steve McManaman can get to Lionel Messi is that they both played in El Clasico’s. That’s it.
No disrespect to McManaman, but his achievements pale in comparison to the Argentine’s. Even his two Champions League wins are trumped by Messi’s four.
So Twitter was really, really confused when Liverpool compared the two on Tuesday afternoon.
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McManaman played nine seasons at Anfield, where he won the FA Cup and League Cup, and the fact that he was born just miles from the stadium means he will never have to buy a beer in Merseyside again.
But we can’t help but feel that Liverpool have overstated his value slightly.
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The club’s social media account tweeted a video of the midfielder’s terrific run to set up Robbie Fowler in a game against Arsenal.
The assist was phenomenal. The caption, however, wasn’t.
“Before Messi there was McManaman…”
And that’s the last time the two will be mentioned in the same sentence.
As expected, the response was fierce.
McManaman left Liverpool for Real Madrid in 1999 and spent four seasons at the Bernabeu, playing with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Raul Gonzalez, Luis Figo and Ronaldo.
His hard-work endeared him to the Madrid faithful and McManaman, now a pundit with BT Sport, is one of few English players to have enjoyed a successful spell in Spain.
But even he will chuckle at Liverpool’s tweet.
The 44-year-old, who ended his career at Manchester City, is a Messi fan, claiming the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is better than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with Goal a few years ago.
“I think if I had to choose one of the two players for my team I would pick Messi,” McManaman opined. “He's an unbelievable talent and his dribbling is mesmerising.
“Every time I have watched Messi I can't help but sense that I'm witnessing something very special.
“But there is not much in it. Ronaldo has been consistently incredible and it’s just a matter of what type of player you want in your side.
"Ronaldo is more about pace, power and finishing but their goal records are pretty identical. It comes down to a matter of taste.
“Madrid supporters will probably say Ronaldo is better, Barcelona supporters will pick Messi. That’s how it is.”
Messi is king
The Argentinian maestro has scored 39 goals in a season that has included its low moments.
Messi has suffered four separate injuries this season, including a knee injury that forced him to miss nine matches, and is currently on a four-game goal drought.
Yet if you asked every single football manager which one player they long to possess, 99 per cent would say Messi.
Before Messi there was McManaman, but Messi’s legacy will last a lot longer.
Is Leo Messi the greatest player in football history? Have your say in the comments section below!
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