The long-term rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is quite familiar to tennis fans. Nadal and Federer are arguably two of the best players in tennis history, and it comes as little surprise to see fans debate the greatness of one over the other. Just like their intense rivalry, when it comes to football, fans have usually been split between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Like their tennis counterparts, Messi and Ronaldo have been enjoying supremacy in football for well over a decade and despite being on the wrong side of 30, the duo is yet to show any signs of slowing down.
Born in Mallorca, Spain and an avid supporter of Real Madrid, Rafael Nadal would have been forgiven for picking Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi, considering Ronaldo's exploits in the Spanish capital. However, when asked the same question during an interview, the tennis superstar fired back with a diplomatic answer. Refusing to pick one over the other, Rafael Nadal told TNT, "Messi is better than Cristiano for Barca (Barcelona) and Cristiano is better than Messi for Real Madrid." The Spaniard proceeded to elaborate, saying fans of either camp must enjoy watching the two best players in the world do what they do best.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who won four Champions League trophies with Real Madrid, scored a total of 450 goals in just 438 appearances for Los Blancos. Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018 to join Serie A giants Juventus. Meanwhile, his arch-rival, Lionel Messi, has played his entire career with Barcelona, scoring 638 times in 750 appearances. Messi and Ronaldo also share a whopping 11 Ballon d'Ors and numerous accolades among themselves.
"I, as a Real Madrid fan, enjoy seeing Messi, even though he is not in my team, and being lucky enough to see him every weekend, as it must be for Barcelona fans with Cristiano, but obviously I’d like to have Messi in Madrid," Rafael Nadal stated.
A former World No.1 player, Rafael Nadal was heavily influenced by football while growing up in Spain. Nadal has admitted in the past that he would have taken up football as a professional career if not for his former coach and uncle, Toni Nadal. These days, the 19-time Grand Slam champion remains stuck in quarantine in his house due to the COVID-19 outbreak.