Former England coach Fabio Capello once made an emphatic claim on the Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo GOAT debate.
When asked to comment on both players, the former Real Madrid and AC Milan coach hailed the Argentine international as a genius and stated what sets him apart from his Portuguese counterpart.
The remark came back in March 2021 when Lionel Messi was still a Barcelona player. Then, the Blaugrana had just been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16 by PSG after suffering a 5-2 defeat on aggregate, and Capello insisted that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner remains football’s finest player despite his side’s elimination from Europe’s elite club competition.
The Italian explained that Messi, who was then Barcelona captain, has something other footballers lack, which sets him apart.
“The Messi that we saw last night is a phenomenon that the goalkeeper and Marquinhos stopped,” Capello said.
“However, Messi is a footballer with something different. He again showed that he has something more than the others and is an absolute genius.”
Capello explained that other footballers, including Ronaldo, will win the prestigious Ballon d’Or accolade, but according to him, Messi will be football’s ultimate genius.
“The others will win the Ballon d’Or, as Cristiano Ronaldo did, but he, Messi, is the genius because he does things with quality and speed that are unthinkable for others,” he said.
“He uses his feet as others use their hands. Last night I saw a great Messi and a beautiful Barcelona.”
It is worth noting that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won a combined 12 Ballon d’Or awards so far, the most by any duo in football history.