Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher disagree over the greatest player of all time

By Alex Young

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have disagreed in the age-old debate between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, former Manchester United defender Neville was waxing lyrical about Ronaldo's stunning second debut for the club - in which he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.

Asking himself who he would pick, between Ronaldo or Messi, to come off the bench to win a game, Neville picked United's newest debutant.

"It would absolutely be Cristiano Ronaldo," Neville said. "He can score with his left foot, his wrong foot, he can score with his right foot, he can score from distance, he’s probably the best poacher now in football, he can score from penalties.

"And if you stick it in the box and hang it up there he will score. He might even score with a free-kick.

"If you think about impact and who is the greatest player of all time, I’ve never really answered that question. That is a phenomenal amount of goals with his left foot [123] it’s an outrageous amount of headers [110]. Penalties, again a massive amount of penalties [125], hat-tricks, free-kicks...

"He would be the player in the history of football, that I’ve watched that I would bring off the bench if I had someone win the game for me.

"I do think he is the greatest football that’s ever lived. [Carragher] is shaking his head but that's not a bias ... I would want trust [Ronaldo] to win me a football match most, who is the most complete player.

Carragher is of the opposing opinion, insisting it is Messi who can be considered the greatest ever.

He said: "Ronaldo is not the greatest player of all time. His pal here [Lionel Messi is].

"Messi has a better goal record than Ronaldo. Messi is a playmaker. Messi can run a game. Ronaldo can’t do that - again not a criticism. But no way in the world he’s the greatest player of all time.

"You talk about who do you want coming off the bench, Messi scored double coming off the bench than Ronaldo so that’s ridiculous what you’ve just said.

"He can score different types of goals, it doesn’t matter. Even if Messi just scores with his left foot, it’s who’s got more chance of scoring from the bench and the stats prove Messi scores more coming off the bench than Ronaldo.

"Two absolutely wonderful players ... But Messi as a player can take you to a place where you can’t believe. What Ronaldo does is do things other players can do, you see him score a great header - you’ve seen it before - heading, running, Messi can do things we’ve never seen before.

Neville concluded with: "There are a lot of people who believe Ronaldo is, there are a lot of people who believe Messi is. I would never say someone who chose Messi is wrong, that's their opinion.

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