Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s former Manchester United team-mate Kieran Richardson has sided with Lionel Messi in the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate.

After winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup title last December, Argentine captain Lionel Messi has surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo in the Goat debate and has emerged as the undisputed best player in football history.

In November and December 2022, Lionel Messi scored seven goals and three assists in seven matches to help Argentina win the FIFA World Cup in Qatar after 36 years. The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star was named the best player of the quadrennial tournament and received the Golden Ball.

Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, endured a tough World Cup campaign. He scored the only penalty in Portugal’s first match and the 38-year-old star was left out of the starting XI for both knockout games as Portugal crashed out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals.

Richardson, who shared 40 games with Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford, was asked in the Steven Sully Study to choose one of the two superstars of the modern generation, saying, “They’re both Goats. Even after I know Ronaldo, I’ve played with Ronaldo and I love Ronaldo, but if I had to pick just one I choose Messi.”

“They are both very good players, both are Goats. Even if they are not in the world, they will be talked about in the world. But only because Messi won the World Cup, I am forced to choose Messi.”

Richardson has claimed that after Messi’s World Cup winning campaign in Qatar, he has surpassed Diego Maradona and Pele and surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in history.

Richardson added: “It’s a big thing to win the World Cup because even if Messi didn’t win the World Cup, everyone was saying: ‘Yeah, but he hasn’t won it yet. He can’t be the greatest of all time because [Diego] Maradona has won it, Pele has won it.’ Now There is no question; he has won the biggest trophy in football that every footballer wants to win.”