Gary Lineker delivers Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo verdict – ‘It’s not even close’

Gary Lineker believed Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time and insists ‘it’s not even close’. The GOAT debate rages on as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to show their brilliance.

Both are now see as all time standouts in the sport, along with Diego Maradona and Pele.

But Lineker thinks the debate is a strange one, and believes Messi is a long way ahead.

“It’s Ronaldo that most people seem to compare Messi to now, not Maradona,” he wrote in a piece for the BBC.

“People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them.

“Often the choice seems to come down to whether you support Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus or whoever, which is fine – I understand that.

“I am a huge fan of Ronaldo too, but if you’re talking about the best player ever, there shouldn’t even be a debate that it is Messi. That’s just my opinion, but it’s not even close for me.

“Some people level it against Messi that his achievements have all come with Barca while Ronaldo has won titles in different countries, but I find that suggestion a strange one.

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“Messi has obviously played in some great teams during his time there but, whoever has been alongside him, his amazing numbers have carried on exactly the same.

“He has proved the doubters wrong, time and time again.”

Lineker thinks Messi is a ‘complete one-off’ and says that while there may be aspects of his game that others can claim to be better as, he has the whole package.

He added: “People can make a case for other players being better than Messi in certain areas – for example that Cristiano Ronaldo is a better goalscorer.

“I would beg to differ, but I can at least understand that argument because there’s not much in it in terms of their raw numbers, which are pretty much a goal a game.

“But it’s not just about Messi’s staggering goalscoring statistics. An extraordinary combination of things makes him a complete one-off.

“Messi is also right up there with Diego Maradona as the best dribbler there has been, because they both have the ability to ride tackles and get out of unbelievably difficult situations with people all around them.

“On top of that, he’s also quite possibly the best passer of the ball we have ever seen – he sees things that ordinary mortals don’t.

“It’s like he’s watching the game from above while playing it at the same time, but even that doesn’t do full justice to his genius.”

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