He may be the Ballon d’Or winner with an impeccable physique but the Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo should be happy and proud to be second in the world to superior Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, according to Javier Clemente.
Debate over who is the best footballer in the world has intensified since Ronaldo regained the 2016 Ballon d’Or from five-time winner Messi in December, leaving the Portugal captain one behind the Argentina skipper in football’s most coveted individual award.
Former Spain head coach Clemente, who enjoyed spells in charge of Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Espanyol among others, weighed into the debate and was forthright in his views, claiming while Ronaldo boasts better abdominal muscles, he simply cannot compete with the natural talent of Messi.
“Messi is ahead of everyone,” Clemente, 66, told Cadena SER. “He does different things and the sum of those parts lifts him to first place.
“This doesn’t mean the rest aren’t any good, and I don’t know why some people get angry because of it.”
“If you aren’t the number one, who cares if you are number two; it’s out of your control if one guy is born better than you are.
“Cristiano should be happy and proud to be second in the word.
“Cristiano has better abdominals, a height advantage, and he headers better. There are thing that Cristiano does better, but Messi beats him in technique, ability and vision, and that’s that.
“He should be happy and proud to be second in the word, there’s no more noble thing in sport to recognize the quality of your rivals.”
Messi tops the LaLiga goalscoring charts with 12 after 16 rounds, two more than Ronaldo ahead of the resumption of league action this weekend.