New Deljhi: Real Madrid captain Raul has praised Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and his runner-up Lionel Messi, but he also confessed who he believes is the better player.
As Raul and his Real Madrid side prepare for the epic battle with fierce enemies Barcelona in Saturday night’s El Clasico, the iconic club captain has professed his admiration for his rivals’ star player, as well as for the newly-crowned European Footballer of the Year.
In a light-hearted interview with his former mentor, Jorge Valdano for La Sexta, El Capitan expressed his admiration for the other-worldly talents of both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when asked about the recent Ballon d’Or announcement.
"I believe that Ronaldo and Messi were the two clear favourites to win the award. I think that they are equally the two best players in the world today," offered Raul.
But when pushed to pick which one is the best between the two: "Man… if I choose one, then the other is going to say that… (laughs) I really believe that they are both good. Messi is a player who will become something incredible if he can stay away from injuries. The other day I saw one of his games. He was running with the ball at a hundred percent full speed, I don’t know how many touches he took, maybe five or six, but the ball was glued to his foot. It’s practically impossible!"
"Of course, Ronaldo has other qualities but watching them both, I would have to choose Messi," he finally answered.
The focus invariably turned to El Clasico itself as he analysed the two teams.
"I believe that Madrid have a chance to win at Barcelona. But whatever is said before and after the game is worthless, because it’s that 90 minutes that counts the most."
"Barca have recovered to become the team they were three years ago. They have rediscovered their hunger. Now, they fight for every ball, they put pressure on their opponents and they try to dominate," he concluded.