The comparison between the greatness of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has been an exciting point of debate among football fans over the last two decades. However, it seems for the ex-Chelsea defensive midfielder, there’s nothing to compare.
Mikel John Obi, the ex-Chelsea player was called on for a podcast interview in “Vibe With Five,”, hosted by Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand & the FIVE team.
When Ferdinand asked Mikel about the best player he had played against, the midfielder had no doubts in mind.
Having faced the Spanish club, FC Barcelona in the Champions League several times, it seems that Mikel had no choice but to admire and recognize the greatness of the football magician, Lionel Messi.
When asked to elaborate on the experience of playing against the Argentine, Mikel was all praise for Messi.
He was quick to draw in the comparison and said –
When we played against [Manchester] United when Cristiano was there we knew Ash (Ashley Cole) would deal with him. He is capable of dealing with him. But every time it was against Barcelona, of my god, training the whole week was about Messi.
Speaking about their strategic training to contain the ex-Barcelona Forward, he said –
We have to have two-three players with him, you can’t defend one-on-one against him. It’s impossible. You’re dead. And the way they play, the way they move the ball around with the sole purpose of getting the ball to him and all he’s doing is watching the game.
I know we all talk about how he walks around but it’s just to find the space. Once that ball gets to him, the movement everybody is running and moving, it’s so difficult [to play against].
The way he touches the ball, the way he passes.
Addressing the ever long debate, Mikel said –
I know the comparison is there but because I’ve played against both and Messi was close to me when we played against them. But for me, and I’m not going to say miles because of what Cristiano has done as well, but for me I really don’t see the comparison.
I just think Messi is from a different planet. I just think he is that good. The game plan was just to kick him because we can’t get the ball off him or get close enough
Even Ronaldo’s former teammate seemed to agree. Even though he pointed out that Ronaldo was at his peak when he was given a more free role in Real Madrid, stopping Leo Messi was definitely a harder task.
“You can’t get close enough,” said an empathetic Ferdinand.
Chelsea had to face Barcelona’s Leo Messi about 10 times in Champions league matches. Even though Messi’s stats were quite decent with 3 goals and 3 assists, Mikel recollects the extensive planning and training the team had to undergo to contain the magician.
This podcast again sparked the never ending discussion among the rival fandoms. Even though many football enthusiasts and footballers have already given their verdict on this debate, it seems that Mikel’s vote clearly goes to the eighth times Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.