Cristiano Ronaldo is, without question, one of the greatest footballers of all time. He's won everything there is to win at club level across spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, along with a European Championship in Portugal colours, while breaking almost every scoring record in the books.
After earning his fifth and now almost certainly last Ballon d'Or in 2017, Ronaldo told France Football: "I'm the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones. I respect everyone's preferences, but I've never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There's no player more complete than me."
But that wasn't the statement of a man who feels secure regarding his status in the game. If Ronaldo was truly the No.1, he wouldn't have the compulsion to remind everyone whenever he's in front of a camera.
Lionel Messi has never had the same impulse, because he's always let his feet do the talking. The Barcelona legend has two more Ballons d'Or than Ronaldo, and is a shoo-in for a record-extending eighth award at the 2023 ceremony after inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.
Ronaldo and Portugal came up woefully short at the tournament, which likely pushed him into completing a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia. Accepting a contract at Al-Nassr to become the highest-paid player ever was the only way for him to steal the spotlight back from Messi.
But the shock element of the transfer didn't last for long. Ronaldo was unable to lead Al-Nassr to the Saudi Pro League title last season, and his performances did little to convince anyone that he is still capable of delivering at the very highest level.
And now, Messi has taken centre stage once again. After bringing the curtain down on a disappointing two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, the diminutive forward took the decision to take on a new challenge in MLS with Inter Miami.
Predictably, Ronaldo has weighed in. But the 38-year-old's latest comments only confirm his standing as a has-been desperately trying to stay relevant.
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