Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are regarded as two of the best players of the current era. The duo have thrashed records in the last two decades and they are considered as two of the best forwards to have ever graced the sport.
However, for Italy’s Alessandro Nesta, Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario is the greatest striker he played against. Nesta also has the experience of playing against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but admitted that playing against the Brazilian was a different challenge for him.
Nesta told COPA90 in 2022, “I can play, yeah. Because I played against Ronaldo – the Brazilian. Haaland is very good, but the other one (Ronaldo Nazario) was something different. I played against Messi, against Cristiano but the Brazilian Ronaldo for me was different.”
On the other hand, Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario picked Lionel Messi ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo as the GOAT.
He told SPORTbible, “He [Messi] is out of this world. Cristiano Ronaldo, too, but I see Leo as more complete. He’s great. I like him much more than any other player. Everything he does is spectacular.”
Ronaldo added that records are meant to be broken but feels it is unfair to compare two different eras because of different rules and conditions.
“All records will be broken, even those of Messi and Ronaldo’s today will be broken in the future. Records are made for this. But it is difficult to compare one generation with another. There are no right measures to do this.”
He continued: “If you ask me which generation to choose, I would say ours, without a doubt… During my generation, the competition was much tougher than it is now, without wanting to speak less of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And Neymar… But the others are missing, they haven’t reached their level. Before there was more competition and not only in Italy, but also in Spain and England.”
Cristiano Ronaldo recently completed the milestone of 850 goals for country and club whereas Messi has been in terrific form for Inter Miami CF.
On the other hand, Ronaldo Nazario is regarded as one of the most lethal forwards of all time. He scored a total of 15 goals in 19 World Cup matches across three editions. The talisman scored eight goals in seven matches in Brazil’s successful World Cup campaign of 2002.