The ex-England star tweeted his sadness over Lionel Messi’s exit from Barcelona after 21 years with the Spanish giants, but in the process claimed Ronaldo was no longer operating at the absolute top of world football in terms of the game’s most talented players.
Lineker wrote: “It’s heartbreaking in many ways to see Lionel Messi leave @FC Barcelona. It’s not a retirement, though, and with @Cristiano in the twilight of his career, we can watch him in a forward line consisting of, possibly, the 3 best players on the planet…if @KMbappe stays put.”
The tweet refers to Messi’s move to French outfit Paris Saint-Germain, expected to be announced at some stage this week.
PSG are thought to be one of the few sides in world football that could afford Messi’s astronomical wages, tying the Argentinian superstar down to a two-year deal with an option to extend for a further year.
The transfer would see Messi line up alongside former Barca teammate Neymar and young sensation Kylian Mbappe, the two players in question in relation to Lineker’s tweet.
Ex-Barca star Lineker clearly believes that all three of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe currently trump Ronaldo in terms of ability.
Ronaldo has not won a Ballon D’or in four years, the last coming in 2017 while he was still a Real Madrid player.
Since his move to Juventus in 2018, though Ronaldo has still enjoyed individual success, the Turin-based side have fallen short when it matters most.
Where does Cristiano Ronaldo rank among the world’s best? Have your say here.
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Failing to make an impact in the Champions League since Ronaldo’s arrival, last season saw Juve struggle to qualify for the competition altogether, though they managed to secure their place in European football’s most coveted competition on the last day of the Serie A season.
Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Juventus all summer, as both Manchester clubs were touted with the Portuguese superstar while a return to boyhood club Sporting CP was not ruled out.
However, the 36-year-old now looks set to stay at Juventus, while long-term Ballon d’Or rival Messi enjoys the first transfer of his career.
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