Spurs goalkeeper: Ex-Manchester United hero better than Maradona

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo was tougher to play against that Diego Maradona.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to score his first 2014 World Cup goal for Portugal against USA, but he may have been cheered by one personal compliment.

Speaking on the BBC, Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel was full of praise for Cristiano Ronaldo, who he played against several times while at Manchester United

"He's the absolute best I've ever played against and I've played against a few, I've played with Gheorge Hagi an outstanding footballer, Maradona played against him.

"He (Ronaldo) has everything, it's very difficult for a goalkeeper, because he can score with both feet, he can head it."

Friedel, 43, earned his first international cap for USA in 1992, and his career overlapped with Maradona's for two seasons.

Ronaldo's striking of the ball, with the pace, power and unpredictability may be the most difficult any goalkeeper of the modern era has had to contend with, but the comparison of the two players is likely to split opinion.

While Ronaldo has broken and set club scoring records, with 252 goals in 246 games for Real Madrid, it is his international record which will see him denigrated.

Diego Maradona's legend at the 1986 World Cup is the standard by which all pretenders are compared, including Ronaldo.

With a Portugal side seen as poor individually than Argentina of '86 barring the star men, Ronaldo had the chance to define his legacy by helping Portugal to at least getting close to that achievement.

He is clinging onto that chance, conjuring up a magical cross for Varela to head home in the final minute against USA. Portugal need to beat Ghana in their final game and hope USA and Germany do not play out a draw, and they can recover goal difference in their favour.

If ever the stage was set for a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick...

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