Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says that Cristiano Ronaldo is a better player than counterpart Lionel Messi.
The pair have long been the subject of an intense debate among football fans as to who is the undisputed best footballer between them.
Barcelona star Messi, who has bagged 453 goals in 530 appearances in all competitions for the reigning La Liga champions, has won 26 major honours for club and country during his 11-year career.
onaldo, meanwhile, has scored 482 goals in 640 appearances over a 14-year period for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid, as well as scooping 17 major trophies.
Ferguson managed a young Ronaldo whilst in charge of the Old Trafford-based side from August 2003 until his move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2009.
And the 74-year-old, who turned the Red Devils into the most successful English football club of all time during his 27-year tenure, was unequivocal in his response when asked who he thought was the better player of the two.
“It’s interesting to me that we hear so much about two players these days: Ronaldo and Messi,” the Scot said during an Q&A evening alongside golfer Rory McIlroy in Dublin on Tuesday.
“Now don’t get me wrong, Messi is a fantastic player, it’s like he’s wearing slippers when he controls the ball. But here, for me, is the difference. Messi is a Barcelona player.
“But Ronaldo could play for Stockport County and score a hat-trick. He has everything. He can shoot with both feet, head the ball, he’s as brave as a lion, and here’s something else people overlook.
“During my time at Manchester United I was lucky enough to have a lot of people who put in countless extra hours to get better. Gary Neville turned himself from an average footballer into a wonderful one because of his work ethic, as did David Beckham. But Ronaldo used to completely exhaust himself, and still does. He just wanted to be the best in the world.”