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Jamie Carragher clear on Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate with "best ever" claim

Jamie Carragher hopes Argentina win the World Cup this winter so Lionel Messi's claim as the greatest of all time is indisputable.

The Liverpool legend has always been clear where he stood in the Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate, staunchly believing the former is the best ever player. That crown looked to be slipping last season, but the 35-year-old is now back to his best with Paris Saint-Germain.

After scoring just five Ligue 1 goals in his first season in the French capital, there were question marks as to whether age was finally catching up with the Argentine. But on the early evidence of this season, claims of his demise had been greatly exaggerated.

His sumptuous strike against Benfica in the Champions League means he now has seven goals and eight assists from just 13 matches. He looks set to enter the Qatar World Cup in fine form as he goes in search of his first triumph, in what will likely be his last chance to do so.

And Carragher, who has this week been embroiled in a row surrounding Ronaldo, has admitted that his wish for this winter is that Messi will finally lift international football’s biggest prize. Appearing as a pundit on CBS Sports, Carragher suggested that the little magician was the best any of the panel - which included Thierry Henry and Micah Richards - have ever witnessed.

“He’s the best player that I think all three of us have ever seen,” he said. “You’ve got greats that have come before - Pele, Johan Cruyff, Maradona. But I would say Lionel Messi is the greatest player to have ever played football.

“That may not be universal in everybody’s eyes, because everyone associates that you have to win a World Cup. I would love nothing more in Qatar than for Argentina and Lionel Messi to win the World Cup, just to cement where I see him: as the greatest player to have ever played the game.”

That mirrors his stance from last year, when Carragher and Neville got into a discussion surrounding the relative strengths of Ronaldo and Messi. Neville claimed his old team-mate had the edge due to the variety of goals he can score and said if he could sub on any player to save the game, it would be the Portuguese.

Jamie Carragher hopes Lionel Messi wins the World Cup this winter (


CBS Sports)

Carragher hit back at that claim, though: "Messi is also a playmaker. Messi can run a game. Ronaldo cannot do that. Again, not a criticism. But there is no way in the world he is the greatest player of all time.

"You talk about who you would want coming off the bench. Messi has scored double the amount of goals coming off the bench. It is a ridiculous thing to say.

“It does not matter if Messi's goals all come with his left foot, the stats prove he has more chance of scoring. Two wonderful players. In terms of all the attributes, Ronaldo is a more complete player. He can do things that Messi can't in terms of his weaker foot and in the air.

"But Messi can take you to a place where you can't actually believe what you are seeing. What Ronaldo does is what other players can do, Messi can do things you have never seen before."