In the famous Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo debate, Nigerian legend Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha has come down on the side of the former.
The pair have been the dominant individual players in world football for the past decade, with fans relentlessly arguing over who is the better player.
In an interview with FIFA, Okocha revealed that while he is a strong admirer of Ronaldo, he reckons Messi is the more “natural talent”.
I have to be diplomatic here, especially as I’ve a lot of Portuguese friends, but I tend to lean towards Messi. He’s a more natural talent,” Okocha said.
Ronaldo is a fantastic player, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but he’s been a bit unfortunate to be of the same generation as Messi. Consequently, they have to share the limelight.
Okocha added that African players need to work harder and have more self belief to gain the same kind of reputation as Ronaldo and Messi.
If you’re talking about the top tier of players internationally, we (Africans)don’t consider ourselves good enough to compete at that level,” said Okocha.
We have to change that attitude, and then we’ll be able to produce a player of the stature of the other top guys.