Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has admitted that Lionel Messi is the best player he shared the pitch with ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 45-year-old played alongside Ronaldo during the Juventus superstar’s illustrious six years at Old Trafford.
Scholes was quick to point out that he shared the pitch with legendary former footballers like Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo and Xavi.
However, the former England international made it clear that he holds Barcelona captain Messi above Ronaldo and the rest of the aforementioned names.
“I think about the great players with whom I have shared a pitch: Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Pirlo, Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo — and the greatest of them all is Messi,” Scholes wrote in his column for The Independent.
Scholes, who is regarded as one of the best midfielders of all time, played four times against Messi in his glittering career
But Scholes recalled one instance that he would “never forget” as the 33-year-old Argentine superstar “deceived me into fouling him and I waited for the world to fall in.”
He explained in his column: “It was a moment I will never forget. He went past me, I stuck out my leg and Lionel Messi went over.
This was at Old Trafford in 2008 in the second leg of our Champions League semi-final against Barcelona and, with the score 1-0 to us, I had fouled him in our area.
“When I think about our win over Barcelona in that game, on our way to the second Champions League title of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, I always remember that tackle.
Yes, I scored the only goal of the tie, and it was one of my better ones. But I will never forget that couple of seconds when the best footballer in the world deceived me into fouling him and I waited for the world to fall in.
“It should have been a penalty to Barcelona, and an away goal would have won them the tie. But for some reason the referee didn’t give it, the game moved on and even Messi did not make much of a fuss.
“The relief was overwhelming for a few moments — and then I was back into the game.”