Rio Ferdinand drops truth bomb about Ronaldo and Messi after their World Cup exits
Hard to disagree.
Football tournaments always have prominent narratives, it's why we love the sport. What happens on the pitch in those 90 minutes is only a small part of a larger story being told. This summer, that story centred around the debate about which player was truly the greatest: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Everyone has a preference, they're very different players with almost identical numbers, but it's an age-old debate that will never end. In 30 years' time, we will still be having the debate.
Although, as Rio Ferdinand pointed out to us on Saturday, the debate is almost futile.
The former England captain tweeted: 'The 2 Greats have departed the
#worldcup at the same stage on the same day... Ronaldo will be remembered at this World Cup for his hattrick against one of the favourites Spain. Messi for his one moment of brilliance against Nigeria! Just proves football is a TEAM game!'
The 2 Greats have departed the #worldcup at the same stage on the same day... Ronaldo will be remembered at this World Cup for his hattrick against one of the favourites Spain.. Messi for his one moment of brilliance against Nigeria! Just proves football is a TEAM game!
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 30, 2018
Ferdinand, who has developed into one of the most insightful pundits around, makes a key point when he says football is a team game. It's obvious but taps into why the debate is almost futile - context is important.
There is no doubt that the Portugal team this summer had a more functional set-up than Argentina. Jorge Sampaoli changed his starting line up and system for every game in this World Cup, which was indicative of the chaos within the Argentina camp.
Yet both Messi and Ronaldo had their moments, though neither of them played as they have done for their clubs. For individuals to play well, the team must function.