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Ronaldo, the other all-time maestro, favours Messi over Ronaldo anytime

Former Brazilian forward Ronaldo has finally weighed in on the Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo debate and snubbed his namesake Cristiano, openly declaring Lionel Messi as his favourite football player to watch.

The debate has been raging on for a number of years over who the current greatest player in the world, with Messi winning the coveted Ballon d’Or six times and Cristiano five times over the last 12 years.

Brazil’s Ronaldo – who was himself lauded as the most talented player of his generation and won two Ballon d’Ors – was asked by Spanish publication AS for his favourite modern-day stars and he openly omitted Cristiano in his assessment but included a Liverpool forward instead.

“Messi, of course, he is number one, it is a talent that we will take 20 or 30 years to see something similar,” Ronaldo said.

“I also like (Mohamed) Salah, (Eden) Hazard, Neymar, that I love watching him play, of course (Kylian) Mbappe.”

Comparisons have often been drawn between Mbappe and Ronaldo, with observers noting similarities with their explosive pace and skill on the ball.

Ronaldo, however, played it down, saying: “It says a lot of people who look like me, has a lot of speed, finishes well, has great movements, hits excellent with both legs, has an incredible stride.

“We have similar things, but I never liked comparisons, especially between players of different generations, because the situations are different.”

The never-ending debate about Messi vs Cristiano will no doubt continue to rumble on even after they both retire, and Gary Lineker also recently waded into the debate by throwing his weight behind Messi without any hesitation.

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