- Stop comparing Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, a growing number of soccer stars are saying.
- The FC Barcelona forward produced yet another remarkable performance in this season’s UEFA Champions League when he helped his team take down Liverpool FC 3-0 on Wednesday.
- Messi has almost doubled Ronaldo’s goals and assists haul this year, and could yet guide Barça to the Champions League title this season.
- Some of the biggest stars in soccer are saying he’s the best right now, and the best there’s ever been.
- Read more of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 European soccer season here.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
Some of the biggest stars in soccer are saying Lionel Messi is so good, there’s now no comparison to his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The technically-adept Argentine and the Portuguese powerhouse have been virtually inseparable for more than a decade as they battled for supremacy, winning UEFA Champions League titles, league championships, and individual awards like the Ballon d’Or — an annual prize given to the best player in the world.
But Messi’s form throughout the season, where he has scored 46 and created 16 goals in La Liga and European competitions, has placed him a level above his historic peer Ronaldo, who has produced little more than half Messi’s haul with 26 goals and 10 assists in this season’s Serie A and Champions League tournaments.
Even before FC Barcelona’s remarkable 3-0 victory over Liverpool FC on Wednesday, Messi had been hailed by the Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as the world’s best soccer player.
“I don’t want to talk about the others,” The Guardian columnist Sid Lowe quoted Klopp saying this week when he was asked who would feature in a top-five ranking of the best players in history. “Messi is the best,” he added. “I have seen a lot of good players. I’ve coached a lot … but the best is Messi.”
Speaking after Messi’s near flawless performance in the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal at Camp Nou, where the 31-year-old wrote headlines around the world for an outrageous free kick struck in the 82nd minute, Klopp told the BBC that it was in these moments that Messi is “unstoppable.”
Read more: Lionel Messi unleashed a gorgeous free kick to nearly seal Barcelona’s spot in the Champions League final
Klopp is not the only prominent member of the soccer community to marvel at Messi’s majesty.
The controversial Olympique Marseille striker Mario Balotelli said the Barça player’s latest display means he can no longer be compared to Ronaldo, and is now in a league of his own.
“For the love of football, please do not compare him to the no.7 of Juventus anymore,” Balotelli said, according to Goal.com.
And finally, the AS Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who used to play alongside Messi in the Barcelona team from 2011 to 2014, wrote on Twitter that it is “impossible for someone to tell me there’s someone better than him.”
When it comes to individual awards, both Messi and Ronaldo are tied with five Ballon d’Or trophies each. But should Messi guide Barcelona to the Champions League trophy this season, his fifth with the team, the Argentine will likely surpass Ronaldo and claim a sixth player of the year prize later in 2019.
Barcelona plays Liverpool in the second leg at Anfield on May 7, before the tournament final on June 1.
European Soccer 2018-2019