Gary Lineker has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo has refused to speak with him in the past because he prefers Lionel Messi. The BBC presenter is a self-confessed fanboy of the Argentine superstar – something he has never attempted to hide as a former Barcelona player himself.
Speaking during coverage of Portugal vs South Korea at the World Cup in Qatar, Lineker made it clear that Ronaldo has held his judgements against him in the past during his responsibilities within the media, something that has not been documented before.
Rio Ferdinand said: “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.”
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During Euro 2021, Ferdinand said: “It’s a great example to young players and he uses negativity as fuel. You’ve [Lineker] said some things like your preference would be Messi out of the two.
“He will send me a text saying, ‘I can’t believe he said that, can’t believe he’s done that,’ he just uses anything [as fuel].
“You think he’s done so much in his life, ‘Why do you care about what anyone says about you? You know you’re the guy.’
“It’s the competitive nature. That’s all it is. And you need that.”
Lineker has said on multiple occasions that the Messi versus Ronaldo debate is “not even close” for him.
The former England striker previously said in 2020: “People get very tribal in all sorts of ways in life, and Messi versus Ronaldo is one of them.
“Often the choice seems to come down to whether you support Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus or whoever, which is fine. I understand that.
“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.”
Both Ronaldo and Messi are looking to deliver extra ammunition in the GOAT debate at the World Cup in Qatar.
Winning the tournament would arguably push either player ahead of their rival given this is the only trophy to elude both players.
Ronaldo has previously won the European Championships and Nations League with Portugal while Messi won the Copa America in 2021.