A former Real Madrid star has praised Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Italian giants Juventus, but explained why he still feels FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer of all time.
Former Los Blancos striker Antonio Cassano has hailed Ronaldo's transfer to the Bianconeri, claiming the Italian giants have got the Portuguese for a bargain.
"He has these gifts from Mother Nature, but above all his mentality, the consistency of his training, his professionalism – all the things I hated," he told Vanity Fair.
"I admire him a great deal for his ability to always be focused. He'll remain in history forever as one of the greats and he deserved this success, because he earned it through talent, but above all through hard work.
"Cristiano will have a wonderful new experience, Juve will pay him a rich salary, but are still happy because €100 million for a player like that is a bargain.
"He is 33 years old according to his birth certificate, but he looks after his physique so carefully it's almost maniacal. With the level of this Serie A, he can score 30-40 goals per season for a long while yet."
However, despite his high praise for the Portugal captain, Cassano still believes Messi is the best player in history.
"I love Messi not as a counter-point to Cristiano, but because in my view he's the best of all time and the emotions he gives me are unique," he added.
"If I have to rationalise it or convince you, I ask you to find me someone else who handles the ball and scores so consistently as Messi.
"Cristiano lacks nothing, let's be clear, but that's not the point. I love tennis. Now, Cristiano is like Nadal, a fantastic athlete built on talent, but also hard work and desire.
"Messi is more like Federer. He is pure artistry and class. They are different, and you can prefer one to the other.
"I am with Messi, as he can make the difference even when standing still, he almost doesn't need physical fitness."
Cassano spent two years on the books of Real, between 2006 and 2008, leaving a season before Ronaldo's arrival in 2009.
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