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'That's a ridiculous thing you've said' - Neville and Carragher wade into Messi/Ronaldo debate on MNF

Neville declared Ronaldo as the greatest player ever to play the game…and Carragher disagreed.

GARY NEVILLE AND Jamie Carragher waded into the eternal Messi/Ronaldo debate on last night’s Monday Night Football, with Neville saying the programme had hitherto always swerved the argument.

They decided to indulge it on last night’s show, however, perhaps precipitated by Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United. 

Neville’s avenue into the conversation was a question posed by his taxi driver earlier that day, asking which player from all of football history would he choose to substitute on to win a game from a goal down. 

“I thought, it would absolutely be Cristiano Ronaldo”, said Neville, running through the statistical breakdown of all of Ronaldo’s 676 career goals. 

“In answering that question, I do think he is the greatest footballer who has ever lived.” 

The show then compared his statistics and career honours to Messi’s, though a graphic erroneously left out Messi’s Copa America victory with Argentina this summer. 

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“He is more complete”, said Neville of Ronaldo.

“In terms of the most important part of the game. And what tips it over the edge even more is that international record, themes international goals ever. The fact he has won five Champions Leagues with teams that weren’t as good as Messi’s teams. I feel the international goal record and the Champions Leagues, aligned with the variety of goals he has scored, takes me to think he is the greatest footballer of all time. 

Carragher disagreed.  “He’s not. Ronaldo is not the greatest player of all time. You talk about the variety of goals he scores…it doesn’t matter how a ball goes in the net. Messi has a better goal record than Ronaldo. Messi is also a playmaker; Messi can run a game. Ronaldo can’t do that. Not a criticism. But he’s not the greatest player of all time. 

“You talk of the player you would want coming off the bench: Messi scored double the amount of goals off the bench as Ronaldo has, so that’s a ridiculous thing you’ve said.   

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“Messi, as a player, can take you to a place where you can’t believe what you’re seeing. Ronaldo does things other players can do, Messi can do things we’ve never seen before.

“Yes it’s close and there’s always a big debate, but in terms of goalscoring, that is not right. There’s been a lot of fanfare with United in terms of ex-players, I think you’ve got carried away with that.” 

The whole debate led to some friction online between Carragher and Gary Lineker, who pointed out the Copa America error and the fact Sky only gave Messi three Champions League medals, whereas he has four. Carragher said they didn’t count his first, in 2006, as Messi did not play in the knockout rounds. 

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You can watch the segment below.

Source: Sky Sports Football/YouTube

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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