After Lionel Messi’s World Cup victory, many current and past players, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s former colleague, began referring to him as the best of all time. Toni Kroos has even admitted that he wasn’t allowed to say that the Argentine is better than the Portuguese.
Many in the soccer community believe that Lionel Messi’s World Cup win ends the long-standing rivalry between the Argentine and Cristiano Ronaldo for the title of greatest player of all time. Even Ronaldo’s old team-mates appear to be leaning towards the Paris Saint-Germain star.
Now that the 35-year-old forward has said he will retire after the 2022 tournament in Qatar, the stage has been set for a fairytale ending: finally winning the one major prize that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career. Despite Argentina’s slow start, which resulted in a loss to Saudi Arabia, Messi’s superb performance helped his team reach the final of the tournament at the Lusali Stadium.
They would face the 2018 winners, France, in the same stadium. Although Messi now enjoys wider recognition, he and Ronaldo were arguably more evenly matched when they both played for Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Toni Kroos makes U-turn on Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate
After La Albiceleste won the World Cup, Real Madrid player Toni Kroos recanted his earlier remarks about the finest player ever. Kroos, who spent several years on the field alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain, had already declared the Portuguese superstar to be the greatest player of all time.
“From my playing days, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo (best player of all time). Of course, I’m biased because he made a decisive contribution to us winning a lot of titles. He lived right next to me. Seeing what a perfectionist he is was impressive. That is why it is forbidden for me to name Messi (as the best player of all time)”, had been quoted as saying by Mirror.
However, after seeing Lionel Messi’s performance against France on Sunday, he has had a change of heart and now prefers the Argentine. During an interview with German news outlet MagentaTV following the World Cup, he said: “Messi deserves it. In terms of individual performances in a championship, I’ve never seen a footballer play as regularly as this guy. You have to take into account that he has never played for clubs that I find very funny, something that proves that I mean it.”