Fans who say Cristiano Ronaldo is superior to Lionel Messi ‘don’t get football’

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo has long been one of the biggest debates in football.

It is a tragedy we no longer get to see the two directly go head-to-head every season too after the Portuguese superstar swapped Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

El Clásico is back tomorrow night (8pm) as Barcelona go to the Bernabeu in La Liga.

With only two points separating the arch-rivals at the top of the table in the race for the title, the Catalan giants will be turning to main-man Messi for inspiration.

Real go into the game off the back of their damaging 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester City in the Champions League, while former hero Ronaldo was due to be involved in his own huge contest over in Turin.

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Serie A leaders Juventus were set to host third-placed Inter Milan on Sunday evening (7.45pm), with Antonio Conte’s side six points adrift but with a game in hand.

However, the showdown in Italy has been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus in the country, with the game now set to take place in mid-May instead.

The two massive matches in Europe this weekend would have had football fans licking their lips and deliberating over the tough choice of which to watch.

Prior to the postponement, fans would have been asking themselves: 'Do I want to see Messi potentially light up the Bernabeu yet again, or does Ronaldo firing Juventus closer to the Italian title appeal to me more?'

Dutch legend Marco van Basten has made his stance clear – there is simply no argument in the Messi vs Ronaldo debate.

Van Basten, who won three Ballon d’Or trophies of his own in 1988, 1989 and 1992, will always rank Messi as the superior for what he means to football.

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Speaking to Italian newspaper Courier della Sera, Van Basten insisted: “Cristiano is a great player, but those who claim that it is better than Messi do not understand anything about football.

“Either that or they say it in bad faith.

“Messi is unique, inimitable and unrepeatable. [You will see a player like him] every 50 or 100 years.

“As a child, he fell into the pot of football genius.”

Discussing how he hung up his boots early compared to the greats of modern football, Van Basten added: “Basically I stopped playing at 28. I had won three Golden Balls.

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“[But] look at Ronaldo and Messi, over 30 years old, where they are [now].

"I was 31 years old when I left [football]. My liver was shattered by painkillers and I had pain in my damn ankle."

Messi, 32, is into his 16th season in the Barcelona first team, having broken into the top-quality side back in the 2004/05 campaign.

His goalscoring form has hardly wavered, as he sits on 23 goals from 29 appearances to date in all competitions.

Niggling injuries have disrupted his season briefly, but Messi remains a pure joy to watch on most given days.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been equally important for Juventus, netting 25 times in 31 games.

His ratio of a goal-a-game in Serie A this term means he only needs one more to surpass last season’s effort of 21.

The 35-year-old is showing little sign of slowing down and proven his adaptability throughout his career at Manchester United, Real and now Juventus.

The pair are truly two of football’s greatest and have 11 Ballon d’Or titles between them.

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Messi jumped back ahead of Ronaldo by clinching the award at the end of 2019, ahead of Virgil van Dijk and the Portuguese forward.

Whether Ronaldo can pull back level again in 2020 remains to be seen.

And we will never have a definitive answer over who the best was.

But we will never forget either player when they eventually go the way of Van Basten and call it a day.

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