Fabio Capello gives his verdict on the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo debate… as the former England boss points to one ‘simple’ reason for his decision

  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best players of their generation
  • It has long been a hotly-contested debate over who is better out of the two stars
  • Coventry’s epic comeback is what the FA Cup is all about – we don’t need to change it – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Former England boss Fabio Capello has weighed in to give his opinion on the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi debate.

Messi and Ronaldo are the two stars of their generation, winning 13 Ballon d’Ors and numerous titles between them, but it has long been a divisive issue in the game over who is better.

Several big names have sided for one or the other, with the likes of Eden Hazard and Gary Lineker on the Argentine’s side, while others such as Roy Keane have backed Ronaldo.

And Capello – who coached teams including AC Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus during his distinguished career in the dugout – has chimed in and explained his view  for a ‘simple’ reason.

‘[Ronaldo] is a great player,’ he said when speaking at the Laureus World Sport Awards in Madrid.

Fabio Capello has weighed in to give his opinion on the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi debate

Messi and Ronaldo are two stars of the game and have won 13 Ballon d'Ors between them

Messi and Ronaldo are two stars of the game and have won 13 Ballon d’Ors between them

‘He won titles, he won the Ballon d’Or, but as I said before, it’s not as great as how Messi has been.

‘For me, if you talk to me about Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi, I will say Messi. 

‘Ronaldo is a great scorer, shoots, does everything, knows how to do everything, but he is not a genius. Very simple.’

Messi, 36, now plies his trade with MLS outfit Inter Miami and the forward has shone since moving to the US.

He’s netted 20 goals in 23 games for David Beckham’s franchise, where he plays alongside former Barcelona team-mates Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez, and they sit top of the Eastern Conference after 10 games.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo is out in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr after joining at the back end of 2022.

He was the first major name to head to the Middle East ahead of last summer’s exodus and the Portuguese superstar has similarly starred.

In total, the 38-year-old has added 64 goal contributions in just 56 games, although he is currently serving a two-match suspension after seemingly elbowing and stamping on an opponent. 

Capello backed Messi and named one simple reason for choosing the Argentinian forward

The Italian hailed Ronaldo, but also claimed the Portuguese star is ‘not a genius’ like Messi 

Meanwhile, speaking earlier this year on the debate, former Chelsea and Real Madrid star Hazard gave his views on the two greats of the game.

‘Individually, Messi is perhaps the only one,’ he said. ‘I loved watching the Barcelona player, less so at the end, but he’s the greatest in history.

‘It’s impossible to take the ball away from him. Cristiano is a bigger player than me but, in terms of pure football, I honestly don’t think so. Neymar, maybe.

‘After that, he’s no better than me, but at Real, you’ve got the best, also in terms of their careers: (Karim) Benzema, (Luka) Modric, they were the best, (Toni) Kroos, Kev (De Bruyne), they all exude football.’

Cristiano RonaldoGary Lineker

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