The debate as to who, between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the better player is has been going on for ages, and now a former Real Madrid coach has explained why he prefers the Argentine.
Vicente del Bosque – who played more than 400 games for Real Madrid and coached the club between 1999 and 2003, winning eight trophies, including two UEFA Champions League titles – has now given his take on the longstanding Messi-Ronaldo debate.
The retired coach, who also guided Spain to the 2010 FIFA World Cup title as well as the 2012 UEFA European Championship, has now insisted he prefers Messi, despite the 31-year-old playing for his former club's bitter rivals.
"He almost always plays well," Del Bosque told RAC1, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.
"There are players who never do it wrong. He has an impressive consistency. He is a great player.
"I'm staying with Messi. I see a more natural soccer player, from his time in the neighbourhood, playing with friends on the street.
"Even so, Cristiano has extraordinary courage, with physical and technical conditions as a great scorer, but I'm staying with Messi."
Despite favouring Messi over Ronaldo, Del Bosque believes Real are missing the latter's goalscoring prowess.
"He (Ronaldo) is a player who guarantees many goals, and now it is harder for Madrid to score them," he added.
"Even so, there are other very good players, like (Gareth) Bale, who is a special boy with great conditions, or (Karim) Benzema, who has been badly spoken about but has fantastic qualities."
Real lost the first of two El Clasicos 3-0 at home in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night, but will have chance to make amends when they welcome their bitter rivals to the Santiago Bernabeu for a LaLiga fixture on Saturday.
Do you think Real are missing Ronaldo in big games such as El Clasico? Have your say in the comments section below.