Lineker answers: Who is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

Former Tottenham Hotspur hotshot tackles one of the game's most divisive questions - Real Madrid superstar or Barcelona magician?

A strike legend in England, Gary Lineker, 53, has offered his opinion on how to separate the consensus top two players in world football - diminutive ball-magnet Lionel Messi, of Barcelona, and full-throttle forward Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid.

They have both won league titles, both claimed Champions League honours and both have cabinets filled with individual awards, yet Lineker - a former Barca star himself having won the European Cup Winners Cup with the club in 1989 - believes they can be separated. 

"For me, Messi has been a gift from the footballing Gods," said the BBC pundit, to Blahzil.

"He's such a phenomenal talent… a player who not only beats people but mesmerises them, produces magical moments, socres multitude of goals but he's also an honest player. He gets kicked, he gets hacked [but] he gets up. He never dives. He doesn't cheat.

"He's jut a brilliant example for footballers everywhere," said Lineker. "If everyone copied him the game would be much better.

"But who is the best?

"You can't judge it from one season alone," warned Lineker, as Ronaldo claimed last year's Ballon d'Or prize, claimed the Champions League title with Real and broke European goal-scoring records with his haul of 17 for the season. "[You judge it from] the past few years."

He continued: "They're definitely the best two in the world," however, picking a winner, Lineker said: "For me, Messi edges it in the sense he is more of a team player. I think Ronaldo is phenomenal talent, a brilliant player and I love him to bits but he does play for himself a bit.

"Messi always makes the right decision whether it's a pass or a finish and the man's a little genius."

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