Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan were involved in a heated argument on Twitter as they reignited the debate over Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Every football fan has their own opinion on who is the better of the two players. Both Ronaldo and Messi are now in the twilight of their respective careers, though the former has arguably had a much better season than his rival since rejoining Manchester United last summer – despite receiving some heavy criticism.
The debate over who is the better player was once again sparked this week when Lineker responded to comments made by Sir Alex Ferguson. The legendary United manager suggested that Messi could only perform at his best at Barcelona, while Ronaldo would look brilliant regardless of who he played for.
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“Cristiano Ronaldo could play for Millwall, QPR, Doncaster Rovers… anyone, and score a hat-trick in one game,” Ferguson was quoted as saying. “I’m not sure Messi can do it. I think Messi is a Barcelona product.”
Lineker hit back at the suggestion, tweeting: “This is nonsensical. I know we don’t tend to look beyond these shores very much, and I’m sure Sir Alex is being supportive of one of his own, but even as recently as this summer, Messi almost single-handedly won the Copa America for Argentina. They’re both greats.”
Morgan disagreed, replying: “It’s perfectly sensical, Jugs. Messi’s clearly lost his magic since leaving Barca. Ronaldo’s kept it at many clubs/countries including back at United now. That’s why he’s the GOAT.”
Lineker responded: “He’s the GOAT now? So you’re judging two of the greatest players of all time on how they perform in their mid-30s when they’re both past their best. I don’t care who you or anyone else thinks is better, it’s not important, but a lack of respect for either is totally unwarranted.”
The argument continued, with Morgan writing: “Fergie wasn’t disrespectful, he just said Messi wouldn’t play as well outside of his Barcelona comfort zone, and as we can all now see, he doesn’t.” Lineker hit back by telling Morgan that Messi would have performed at any level during his peak years.
The former Good Morning Britain host didn’t back down, replying: “Ronaldo’s 37 and still banging in wondrous hat-tricks. Messi’s three years younger and fading faster than my taste buds after covid – because he’s not got his Barca support blanket. The debate is over – it’s Cristiano.”
The argument then started to get personal, with Lineker suggesting Morgan was trying to win favour with Ronaldo. “Players will always be judged on their prime years. By your criteria, Maradona would be considered average. I know you’re always texting Ronaldo and desperately want him to like you, but you can do that without disrespecting other greats.”
Morgan reacted angrily, tweeting: “Mate, when it comes to sycophantic obsequious a**-licking, your fangirl worship of Messi even as he fades into mediocrity is in a class of its own!” Lineker quickly followed up with a screenshot of an old tweet from Morgan complimenting Ronaldo on his abdominals while the Portuguese star was at Juventus.
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The argument ended there, with no further replies from Morgan. Even as they reach the end of their careers, Ronaldo and Messi have shown they can still create conflict between football fans.
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