Diego Maradona perfectly summed up the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate

Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

It's the debate that has split opinion across the globe for the past decade, and one that everyone with a link to football in some capacity has an opinion on.

Diego Maradona had more than a link to football. For many he is considered to be the best to ever play the game, and is therefore very well-placed to provide an opinion on who may or may not be the best player from this generation.

The one problem is that Maradona is Argentinian, just like Messi, which you'd think would give the Barcelona legend a slight advantage.

And perhaps it did.

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But that doesn't mean to say Maradona simply overlooked Ronaldo in favour of his compatriot when asked to pick between the duo.

"I prefer Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo but I acknowledge that the latter is an animal," Maradona explained. "I wish he was Argentine. He's incredible. He makes me think of Gabriel Batistuta. As soon as he touched the ball, it was a goal."

On the Portuguese he also said: "From the few players that I saw, amongst the greatest were [Alfredo] Di Stefano, [Johan] Cruyff, Messi – Cristiano Ronaldo could be in there as well."

Of course, Maradona also had some very positive things to say about Messi too.

"I can't remember having seen Lionel Messi play badly," he once claimed.

"There are players who have been touched by a magic wand. We Argentines are proud that Lionel Messi is Argentinian.

"The other one is an animal. Ronaldo is pure power, and now he's also a sorcerer. He said he'd score three goals and he scored three goals."

On whether Messi could win a World Cup, he added: "Alone, he will not be able to win the World Cup. You need a solid team for that. Football history will remember Messi.

"Football has given him a lot, as much as he has given the sport and to win a World Cup, in my opinion, wouldn't bring himself anything else."

Maradona passed away on Wednesday after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest at his home in Tigre, Argentina. Both Messi and Ronaldo paid tribute to one of the greatest number 10s to ever play the game.

Messi said: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

"I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends. Rest in peace."

Ronaldo, meanwhile, wrote: "Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world farewells to an eternal genius. One of the best ever, an unmatched magician.

"Leaves too soon but leaves a boundless legacy and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace. You will never be forgotten."

Who is the better player: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say here.

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