Zinedine Zidane, the French football legend, once shared a significant insight into the ongoing debate over the greatest footballer of all time (GOAT). The argument between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has persisted for decades, and the 1998 World Cup winner had his own perspective on who truly holds this distinction.
The GOAT discussion remains one of the enduring debates in global football, aiming to determine the most exceptional player across different eras among a host of legendary figures. When people are asked about the best footballer, numerous names are often mentioned, including Diego Maradona, Pele, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, Oliver Kahn, and Gianluigi Buffon, among others.
However, over the past approximately two decades, the focus of the GOAT discourse has largely centered around two iconic veterans: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. According to GOAL, these two players have been at the forefront of football dominance worldwide, amassing an impressive total of 12 Ballon d'Or awards between them. Messi has secured the award seven times, while Ronaldo has earned it five times.
Even extraordinary accomplishments, such as Messi's victory in the 2022 World Cup with La Albiceleste or the multitude of goal-scoring records set by the 38-year-old captain of Al-Nassr, have failed to definitively settle the ongoing debate.
Zidane's Perspective on the GOAT Debate
Recent footage has emerged featuring Patrice Evra, a former Manchester United defender, recounting a conversation he had with the iconic French player Zinedine Zidane regarding the football GOAT. According to a tweet from @CristianoXtra on Twitter, Zidane candidly expressed his belief that Ronaldo had surpassed his long-standing rival Messi and had even outperformed Zidane himself.
Evra conveyed Zidane's words: "When Ronaldo signed for Madrid, I remember Zizou saying, 'Ronaldo is better than Messi, and he is even better than [Zidane].'"
This aligns with Zidane's earlier comments on the positions of Messi and Ronaldo in the debate over the greatest footballer ever, as reported by Sportskeeda.
Messi's Perspective on the GOAT Debate
Meanwhile, Messi's claim to the title of the football GOAT has received further validation through his latest accomplishment, now officially recognized by Guinness World Records. The current captain of the MLS franchise Inter Miami has engaged in a long-standing rivalry with Ronaldo, who captains Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.
While some continue to debate who holds the upper hand as a footballer, Messi undeniably stands among the greats in terms of world records achieved compared to his renowned rival.
Ronaldo's Appreciation for Messi and Zidane
Additionally, e360hubs reported that during a controversial interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo praised Messi and Zidane as two of the greatest players he had ever witnessed. This impactful interview, which contributed to the Portuguese veteran's acrimonious departure from Manchester United, included several intriguing remarks from CR7.