Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are widely regarded as two of the greatest footballers of the current generation.
The duo has won multiple titles and individual honours through their illustrious careers, including an incredible 13 Ballon d’Or awards between them.
To put their longevity and dominance into perspective, the pair was among the standout players of 2023.
Messi claimed his record eighth Ballon d’Or award, with Ronaldo ending the year as the top scorer.
According to Goal, the veteran striker netted 54 goals for club and country to finish the year as the world’s top scorer, ahead of Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland.
Despite the success recorded by both Messi and Ronaldo, opinion has always been divided on who between the two is the football GOAT.
Why it is harder being Ronaldo
In 2012, Jose Mourinho appeared to weigh in on the debate and seemingly supported Ronaldo.
Speaking ahead of the 2012 edition of the Ballon d’Or, the then-Real Madrid boss brilliantly explained why he believed Ronaldo deserved the crown ahead of the Barcelona icon.
The Portuguese manager went on to break it down on why he believed that it was harder being Cristiano than Messi.
“It would be a crime for Cristiano to not win the Ballon d’Or. And I keep saying it’s harder to be Cristiano than Lionel Messi,” Mourinho said per GiveMeSport.
“This is a winger that defends, a winger that ends the game in the 94th minute with a sprint to chase Pedro in a goal-scoring position. This is a player that, in dead ball situations, comes 20 times to the defensive area. He is very important to the defensive setup. He is a player that is protected by nothing or nobody. It’s much, much harder,” he continued.