Ronaldo vs Messi: Xavi’s reaction when Cristiano called himself the GOAT in 2017

  • Rob Swan
Never forget when Cristiano Ronaldo called himself the GOAT and it was too much for Xavi

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are sadly edging ever closer to their end of their illustrious careers.

Ronaldo turns 38 in February, while Messi celebrated his 35th birthday in June.

Regardless of what happens between now and the days they retire, both superstars have secured their places on the pantheon of all-time greats alongside Pele and Diego Maradona.

Throughout his career, Manchester United’s Ronaldo has made no secret of his desire to become the greatest footballer ever.

Messi, on the other hand, has always insisted that’s never been a personal objective for him. How people remember him is down to each individual.

In terms of Ballon d’Or awards, Messi leads the way with a record-breaking seven to his name.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has won two more Ballons d’Or since Ronaldo won the prestigious individual accolade for a fifth time in 2017.

Lionel Messi with his seventh Ballon d'Or award
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 29: Lionel Messi is awarded with his seventh Ballon D’Or award during the Ballon D’Or Ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet on November 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017: ‘I’m the best player in history’

After Ronaldo sealed the 2017 Ballon d’Or, the Portuguese forward raised eyebrows with some comments he made to France Football.

“I don’t see anyone better than me,” Ronaldo said at the time, per The Independent. “No player does things that I cannot do myself, but I see things others can’t do.

“There’s no more complete player than me. I’m the best player in history – in the good and the bad moments.”

How did Xavi respond to Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments?

Ronaldo’s comments prompted a response from Barcelona legend Xavi, who was playing for Al Sadd at the time and is now the head coach at Camp Nou.

“Messi does more things compared to Cristiano,” the World Cup winner insisted during an interview with Tot Costa de Catalunya Ràdio, per AS. “Messi is the best.”

Xavi continued: “If Cristiano considers himself the best player in history, that’s fine, but those of us who see him train, there is no comparison.

“Messi is the best in history and we don’t see it any other way.”

Lionel Messi and Xavi during their Barcelona days
BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 01: Lionel Messi (L) and Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona prepare to take a free kick during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Xavi, who went head-to-head with Ronaldo for club and country on numerous occasions during his own glittering career, added: “I imagine all of the managers in the world going out to stop Messi. Even if you do what Athletic Club did, man-mark him like in the Copa del Rey final, they still come out on top. He can’t be defended against.

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“Messi is the difference-maker and we always tried to give the ball to him in space with time to unbalance them. Messi is the player that makes the most difference in the world. It’s more than obvious.”

The Ronaldo vs Messi debate is likely to continue long after both legends have hung up their boots.

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