Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is currently up in the air after it emerged that he wishes to leave Manchester United ahead of the 2022-23 season.
The legendary Portuguese superstar dropped a bombshell on United over the weekend, informing the club of his desire to leave Old Trafford in order to play Champions League football.
Ronaldo turns 38 in February and is acutely aware that his time as a professional footballer is running out. He wants to be competing for the biggest honours and doesn’t feel he’ll have that opportunity at Man Utd during the upcoming season.
There’s no doubt that Ronaldo would love to win the Ballon d’Or at least one more time before he hangs up his boots.
That Ronaldo’s long-term rival Lionel Messi sits two Ballons d’Or clear of him on seven wins must irk him.
Over the course of his illustrious career, the veteran forward has made no secret of his desire to be widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time.
That insatiable inner desire to be the best is the reason he’s been able to scale such unbelievably lofty heights over the past two decades. His mentality is on a different level to most.
Rio: What Ronaldo text when Lineker said Messi is better
So much has been said about Ronaldo over the years that you’d presume he’d be immune to criticism by now.
But his former Man Utd teammate Rio Ferdinand revealed during Euro 2020 that Ronaldo has previously text him after Gary Lineker expressed his belief that Messi is the better footballer.
“He was an obsessed human in terms of becoming the best,” Ferdinand said on the BBC in 2021, per The Mirror. “After 30, we all sit in here, went down. He has gone on. Accelerated. Defies logic really.
“It’s down to commitment, a little bit of luck genetically as well. But he’s just a phenomenal football player, somebody who thinks of every little detail, aspect of the game to try to get every ounce of ability out of himself.
“It’s not just about physically but mentally. His touches have gone down since he was a young kid in 2004, but obviously the touches in the box where he’s going to affect games has gone up.
“That’s not just about your physical prowess and being able to do this and that quicker than anyone else. Or be stronger.
“You’ve got to think about where you are on the pitch as well – and I think he’s done that as well as anybody in terms of evolving as a football player.
“It’s a great example to young players and he uses negativity as fuel. You’ve [Gary Lineker] said some things like your preference would be Messi out of the two.
“He will send me a text saying ‘I can’t believe he said that, can’t believe he’s done that’. He just uses anything [as fuel].
“You think, he’s done so much in his life, ‘why do you care about what anyone says about you. You know you’re the guy’. It’s the competitive nature. That’s all it is. And you need that.”
You can watch the clip here:
Rio Ferdinand: "Cristiano Ronaldo texts me asking why Gary Lineker says Lionel Messi is better than him." 💀— TrustXavi👏 (@Xaviiscooking) April 17, 2022
This guy is so self-obsessed & so insecure lmao😭😭 pic.twitter.com/wjASJkFoDW
On one hand you have to admire Ronaldo’s competitive nature, although on the other it’s hard not to feel a little sorry for him.
It really shouldn’t bother him when Lineker or anyone else for that matter says Messi is better than him, but it quite clearly does.
QUIZ: Can you get 20/20 on our Ultimate Cristiano Ronaldo quiz?
Ronaldo to join Chelsea? (Football Terrace)