Evra accidentally rubs salt in wounds of Ronaldo with Messi dig

Lionel Messi caps brilliant year with FIFA The Best success

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Patrice Evra may have inadvertently upset his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo after suggesting Lionel Messi could have won 15 Ballon d’Or awards in his career. The Frenchman’s revelation came as he attempted to defend his support for Ronaldo in the Ballon d’or voting, insisting Messi would be twice as successful if he worked harder on the pitch.

Messi has won seven Ballon d’Ors in his illustrious career and last claimed the award in 2021 for his efforts with Barcelona. The Argentine is yet to receive the prize since moving to Paris Saint-Germain, but is backed as the heavy favourite to add another to his trophy cabinet at the 2023 ceremony.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, is a five-time winner but has not won the award since 2018. However, he has always been praised for his ability to dominate at every club he has played for, from setting records at Old Trafford to becoming a global star in his nine years at Real Madrid.

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And Evra believes that Ronaldo’s tireless ability to test himself and strive to improve makes him a more admirable player than Messi, who has simply been blessed with talent from an early age. But his suggestion he could have won 15 Ballon d’Ors is unlikely to go down well with Ronaldo, considering he has won five of them in his career.

“I want to explain why I say Ronaldo every time. It’s not because he’s our brother it’s because I’m in love with work ethic,” Evra said on Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel FIVE.

“I feel like Messi, God just gave him a talent and Cristiano had to work for it. He had the talent but he had to work for it. If Messi had the same work ethic as Ronaldo, he would probably have like 15 Ballon d’Ors today. I’m just in love with people working hard so that’s why I pick Ronaldo over Messi.”

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The Ronaldo versus Messi debate has raged on for over decade as the pair duelled in Spain with Madrid and Barcelona respectively. But there is a consensus that the Argentinian has settled the argument once and for all after winning the World Cup, with Ronaldo finishing his career in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr.

The 35-year-old led Argentina to their third World Cup triumph in Qatar last December, scoring seven goals – including two in the final – on his way to landing the Golden Ball. His excellent form in his second season at PSG has all but ensured he will claim the gong for an eighth time.

The Argentinian magician was also crowned the best men’s player at the 2022 The Best FIFA Awards, although he won’t be adding a fourth Champions League winners’ medal to his burgeoning trophy collection after PSG were knocked out 3-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich. Ronaldo, though, has closed the door on adding any more European titles or Ballons d’Or to his trophy cabinet – at least for the time being.

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