Man Utd legend Van Nistelrooy explains why he still picks Ronaldo over Messi despite World Cup win
Ruud van Nistelrooy has explained why he still prefers Cristiano Ronaldo to Lionel Messi in the GOAT debate.
Messi and Ronaldo are rightly regarded as the two greatest players of their generation, regularly battling for major honors for almost two decades.
Argentinian superstar Messi has won the Ballon d’Or more times than any other player in history, seven times, while Ronaldo is second on the list with five wins.
While Ronaldo won Euro 2016 with Portugal, he has never won football’s greatest prize with his nation and, at 38, is unlikely to do so.
Van Nistelrooy still chooses Ronaldo over Messi
Despite Argentina’s World Cup win, former United striker Van Nistelrooy says he will always choose Ronaldo over Messi in the GOAT debate because of his loyalty to his former team-mate.
“I always say Cristiano because you have a history with him,” Van Nistelrooy told Gary Neville on The Overlap.
The Dutch striker, who scored 150 goals in 219 games during his time at United, also revealed his all-time toughest opponent – naming the legendary defense of AC Milan who faced United in the 2005 Champions League.
“I always say that when we played away against Milan in the round of 16, it was Cafu. [Alessandro] Nesta, Jaap [Stam] And [Paolo] Maldini. That was the back four with [Gennaro] Gatto front. Okay, that was too much, that was too much,” added Van Nistelrooy.
“I would say when I played Jaap in that game, I know I played with him for the national team and United, but actually playing him, that was a beast. Fast, even on the turn, because then if you want to beat these guys, the determination, also the aggressiveness. It’s a lot.”
He also revealed that the biggest regret of his career was leaving Real Madrid for Hamburg in 2010.
“I shouldn’t have left Madrid then. I was there [Manuel] Pellegrini then and they signed [Karim] Benzema, Ronaldo and Kaka. There was no place for me and I understood and accepted that – I was 33,” said Van Nistelrooy.
“But I wanted to dare to go to the 2010 World Cup. That was a decision I made too quickly. It wasn’t right for my family at the time either.
“Looking back, I shouldn’t have done that.”