The Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo debate has been rumbling on for more than a decade now.
It began around 2007 when Messi had established his status as the world’s most talented youngster and Ronaldo was starting to rip it up for Manchester United in the Premier League.
Since then the two superstars have shared 10 Ballon d’Or awards between them. Now in 2019, they are still widely regarded as the best two footballers on the planet.
Aside from their extraordinary exploits, their longevity is equally as remarkable.
Legendary players have spent a few seasons at the top, but Ronaldo and Messi have both been consistently brilliant for well over 10 years now.
Football fans will still be arguing that Messi is better than Ronaldo, or vice-versa, in decades to come.
We all have our own opinions on the matter, and they’re all equally valid, but Jose Mourinho spoke complete sense about the eternal debate on beIN Sports on Thursday.
The Portuguese coach, who managed Ronaldo at Real Madrid and has faced the dilemma of setting his teams up against Messi on many occasions, revealed his honest thoughts.
“I think it’s unfair to both of them when somebody [says] this one is better than the other one. I think they are just different,” he commented.
“When you go to Messi and Ronaldo, I think it’s just unfair to compare the players. The only thing I can say is that when I had Ronaldo on my side, I was a very happy man.
“And when I had to play against Messi - and also against Ronaldo because I played against Ronaldo a few times - I had to think a lot to try and help my team have chances to succeed.
“The thing that is really to be admired is the number of years that they stay at the top. I always say the same - even with managers - to win once, it can happen. To win and win and win is much more difficult.
“And as a player, you can have a boom and appear like a hurricane but then you disappear.
“These two guys, they are there for 10 years and everything is about them until the moment they decide enough is enough and other people can raise the bar.”
Watch Mourinho express his opinion in full here...
Mourinho is spot on.
Although they’re both scored a ridiculous number of goals during their careers, they are very different types of forwards - especially these days.
Ronaldo has become arguably the best goalscorer in the world, a penalty-box predator who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Messi, on the other hand, plays deeper and dictates the tempo of matches with his unbelievable ability as a playmaker.
As Mourinho suggests, the first thing we should when discussing Messi v Ronaldo is to appreciate how remarkably consistent the pair of them have been - and what they’ve both given to football.