Cristiano Ronaldo texts Rio Ferdinand when Gary Lineker says Lionel Messi is better

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to rewrite the rules of what is possible in football. 

At the age of 36, Ronaldo has scored five goals in Portugal's opening three games at Euro 2020, helping his nation to secure their place in the last-16 in the process. 

It's his best ever return at a major international tournament and he's now just one goal away from topping Ali Daei's record for the most international goals in history. 

His ascent into the bracket of elite all-time footballers has been a magical journey and shows little sign of letting up despite his age. 

In most footballing eras he'd be the undisputed best player on the planet, but his career has coincided with another extraterrestrial in the shape of Lionel Messi. 

The presence of both players at the apex of world football has created one of the fiercest debates in the game: Messi vs Ronaldo, which has a distinctive nature vs nurture undertone to it. 

Everyone has an opinion, and most are steadfast in sticking to their guns.

For BBC Sport pundit Gary Lineker, there's only ever been one winner in the perennial battle. 

Messi has been Lineker's number one from the start, and he regularly channels his admiration via his Twitter channel. 

He's also been known to make his feelings known live on air, and that certainly hasn't been missed by Ronaldo. 

The ultra-competitive side of Ronaldo that has made him such a phenomenal player clearly knows no bounds.

According to Rio Ferdinand, who was speaking in the BBC studio earlier this week (via Daily Mail), the Portuguese superstar will text him asking for an explanation when Lineker says that Messi is the better of the two players.

"He (Ronaldo) was an obsessed human in terms of becoming the best.

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"He's a phenomenal player but someone who thinks about everything in the game to get every little bit out of himself.

"It's a great example and he uses negativity as fuel. You (Lineker) say Messi is the better out of the two. He will text me saying 'why has he said that?'

"It's his competitive nature and you need that to be the best."

We can't say this surprises us. 

As Ferdinand alludes to, it's that competitiveness that has made Ronaldo such a legendary figure in the game. 

If Ronaldo carries his rich vein of form at Euro 2020 in the knockout phase, then he might just convert a few Messi fans in the process.

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