“A bit touchy on that subject” – When Gary Lineker said Cristiano Ronaldo refused to talk to him over Lionel Messi comments in GOAT debate

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Football pundit Gary Lineker once claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t want to talk to journalists and former footballers who believe Lionel Messi is better than the Portuguese.

The debate on who is the better footballer between Messi and Ronaldo has gone on for over 15 years and hasn’t subsided even with the duo leaving Europe this summer.

During the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Lineker was in conversation with Ronaldo’s former teammate Rio Ferdinand on BBC. He said that the Portugal international steers clear of those who think Messi is a better player than him.

While talking about the rivalry between two modern footballing greats, Ferdinand said (via SportBible):

“It’s weird because he’s achieved so much so what more is there for him to aim at? But he’ll be scratching around so he’s got something to aim at because he needs that fuel. He uses every single comment from a pundit, comment from the media, report or record that’s available as fuel.”

In reply, Lineker said:

“I can tell you from my own experience that if you harbor the opinion that Lionel Messi is the better footballer, then he doesn’t want to speak to you.”

Ferdinand jokingly added:

“He doesn’t like you Gary.”

Lineker further said:

“That’s okay. I understand that even though I have adored watching his career. He’s an incredible footballer. But a bit touchy on that particular subject.”

The two superstars have faced off against each other on 36 occasions. 16 of these clashes have ended in favour of Messi’s side while Ronaldo emerged victorious on 11 occasions.

Their goalscoring records in these matchups are more at par, with Messi scoring 22 times while the Portuguese superstar got on the scoresheet 21 times.

Messi lifted the 2022 World Cup trophy in Qatar while Ronaldo’s Portugal were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Morocco.

When Gary Lineker revealed his take on the Ronaldo vs Messi debate

Gary Lineker, back in 2020, revealed his preference of who he thinks is the better footballer between Ronaldo and Messi. While the former England international praised the former, he picked the current-Inter Miami forward as the better of the two.

Lineker said (via Express):

“People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them. I am a huge fan of Ronaldo too, but if you’re talking about the best player ever, there shouldn’t even be a debate that it is Messi. That’s just my opinion, but it’s not even close for me.”

While Messi is currently playing in the MLS for Inter Miami, Ronaldo joined Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr in December last year.

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Edited by Debasish
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