"They are two completely different players and it’s not really fair to compare them," the South African told the FourFourTwo Magazine when asked who the better player is: Deco or Robbie Savage.
"Deco’s still my mate. He was a magician - he could do anything with a football. But he didn’t have the same work ethic that Savage had. Robbie had a very successful career in England and I really respect him for that."
McCarthy’s answer is quite surprising, as one would have expected him to pick Deco as the better player.
After all, the former Portugal international is one of most decorated players of this century, winning major titles in Portugal, Spain and England.
Having played an important role in Porto’s triumphs in the UEFA Cup in 2003 and the Champions League in 2004, Deco won back-to-back La Liga titles with Barcelona and the Champions League in 2006.
Deco was one of the best midfielders during his time and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, while Savage featured largely for 'modest' clubs.
However, the importance of the Welshman for the likes of Birmingham City, Blackburn and Derby cannot be understated.
True, Savage’s footballing style was not pretty and he was never one of the best midfielders in the Premier League during his best years, but he did an important job for his team.
Players like Savage who work hard in midfield and stop the opposition from playing are often not spoken of highly, and it is great to see McCarthy give his former teammate the credit he deserves.