'Messi is above CR7, there's no debate'


Former FC Barcelona striker Gary Lineker feels there shouldn't be a debate about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as the Argentine is the better football.

Ronaldo and Messi have been going head-to-head since 2009, a rivalry which grew during the Portuguese's time in Spain.

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Lineker is well aware of Ronaldo's achievements but still feels the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is the superior footballer.

"People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them," he told BBC Sport.

"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."

Ronaldo has won the league title in England, Spain and Italy but Lineker has the dismissed the argument that Messi needs to win in another country.

"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.

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"Even for the past couple of seasons, when the Barca team has not been anything like as strong as it was in the past, his contribution has not dipped. In fact, they have been a real mess without him.

"It's rare for any player to stay with one club now, in the way Messi has with Barcelona, let alone someone who moved there from a different country like he did when he left Argentina for Spain, aged 13.

"But, if he had left for any reason, Messi would have been accused of being disloyal. He cannot win, basically.

"And why would he want to move anyway? He started with one of the greatest clubs in world football.

"Leave Barca and you only move sideways at best. You are never going to move up."