The age old Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate has gone on for well over a decade and Frank Lampard admits he has changed his stance recently after seeing Gary Neville argue the case
Frank Lampard admits he has changed his stance on the Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo debate and now favours the Manchester United star.
The question has been asked for the best part of a decade as the pair ascended to new heights.
They have dominated football’s individual awards, winning 11 of the past 12 Ballon d’Ors between them.
That has led to an inevitable rivalry – with fans, players and coaches often leaning towards one depending on what they value.
Ronaldo’s metronomic scoring numbers and relentless drive to be the best has endeared him to many, whilst others prefer the natural, joyful nature with which Messi plays the game, often putting the team before himself.
Lampard came up against them both several times and was always in the Argentine’s camp.
However, in recent times, the former Chelsea boss concedes he has now switched his answer.
Gary Neville posed the question on the Overlap and Lampard responded: “You know what, I’ve always been a Messi man… and then I watched your debate with Carra (Jamie Carragher) recently.
“I actually think for what Ronaldo’s output and actual numbers and goals in big finals, and semi-finals like we’ve seen. I think I maybe give him the edge now.
“That’s gonna start a load of hate now.”
Ronaldo and Messi both took on new challenges in the summer. The former returned to Manchester whilst Messi was forced to leave Barcelona and headed to PSG.
Neither have perhaps had the impact they wanted, despite still producing moments of brilliance.
Neville and Carragher argued between them over who was the best player ever, which clearly influenced Lampard’s thinking.
The former United man said: “So if you think about who is the greatest player of all time, I do think he is the greatest football player who has ever lived.
“He is the player who could win me a football match in the most different ways. He is the most complete player.”
“There is no doubt that Messi has scored an obscene amount of goals, he is a ridiculous player.
“But Ronaldo, the three big differences are the headers, that Ronaldo has scored four or five times more, the wrong-footed goals, that Ronaldo has scored 30 or 40 per cent more, and he has scored more penalties.
“It just took me to the point where he is more complete.”
Carragher responded by saying: “Two wonderful players. In terms of all the attributes, Ronaldo is a more complete player. He can do things that Messi can’t in terms of his weaker foot and in the air.
“But Messi can take you to a place where you can’t actually believe what you are seeing. What Ronaldo does is what other players can do, Messi can do things you have never seen before.”