Arthur will become the 13th player to star alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The 23-year-old midfielder will link up with the Old Lady at the end of the season after a fee of £66million was agreed.
Messi vs Ronaldo is arguably football’s biggest rivalry – and you’re in one camp or the other. The verdict on who is the best will rage forever, but who better to judge which one comes out on top than those who have played with them?
Here, SunSport looks at the other 12 players to have graced the pitch with both and finds out which one they preferred.
Currently a club team-mate of Ronaldo and international pal of Messi – Dybala refused to commit to either when asked which of the two was best.
The Juventus and Argentina ace diplomatically claimed: “It is impossible to make a comparison between the two of them or say who is the best.
“They are at a level on a par with each other and well above everybody else and that has been the case for several years.”
The midfield maestro played alongside Messi – who is reportedly set to quit Barcelona – during the Argentine’s early days at the Nou Camp – while featuring alongside Ronaldo for Portugal.
But when asked to end the “who’s better” debate, Deco opted against naming EITHER – instead of choosing former Barcelona pal Ronaldinho.
Deco revealed: “From the outset, it is clear that Leo and Cristiano are the greatest.
“Especially because no one thought they could take so many years to this level, but the one that impressed me most despite not being so decisive was Ronaldinho.
“For me, he will always be the best.
“We met in Barcelona and immediately connected with him, the moments I lived with him are difficult to compare to anything. It was magical.”
Angel Di Maria
The Paris Saint-Germain winger teamed up with Ronaldo at Real Madrid – where they won the 2014 Champions League – and has played many times with Messi for his country.
But on who was better, Di Maria claimed Messi was the one, saying: “It was a dream to have the possibility to play with [Wayne] Rooney, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, Cristiano [Ronaldo], Leo [Messi]…
“Leo is the best of the four.
“With all the great players I have played with, it’s hard to choose. But if I had to pick one, it would be Leo.
“Messi is the best in the world – there is no question about that.
“When I am an old man I will tell my grandchildren bedtime stories about when I won the Champions League, hopefully when I won the World Cup…
“But most of all I will tell them their grandfather used to play with Lionel Messi.”
The Argentine left-back played with Ronaldo at Manchester United and Messi for his country – but their paths would have crossed at Newell’s Old Boys too, when Messi was a lad.
Over the years, Heinze has had his say on both.
In 2008, he claimed: “If I had to pay for one player I would choose [Ronaldo].
“I don’t think Cristiano will get any better as a footballer, he is already next to God in his ability.”
But in 2016, he added: “Leo is inexplicable. Footballistically, he does not come from this planet. And as a person, he leads such a quiet life that is admirable.”
Despite his glowing praise, technically he did not overturn his decision to name Ronaldo in 2008…
Currently playing alongside Ronaldo at Juventus – after a spell together at Real Madrid – and Messi for Argentina, Higuain knows all about both.
And he revealed: “[Ronaldo and I] had already played together with Real. Many years have passed, and I have found another player, a more mature person, with a family.
“I enjoyed playing alongside him before and I am glad that we are back together.
“I’m a forward and I have the chance to play with Messi. It’s a privilege to play alongside him.
“Every time he gets the ball you need to be on your toes because you know that at any moment he can give you a great ball or pull your marker away from you.
“He does things that a striker can anticipate but a defender can’t.”
Another former Real team-mate of Ronaldo who played alongside Messi for Argentina, Gago was in no doubts as to is the better player.
Gago claimed: “For me he [Ronaldo] is not No1. For me, the best in the world is Messi because of the way he plays, moves with the ball and changes matches.
“Messi has incredible ability and I love the way that he plays.
“We know that he has the ability to win a match in half a second and that gives you peace of mind.
“In every game I have the feeling that he can make us win at any time. Messi’s way of leading is with the ball, sometimes a glance is enough.
“He has an incredible personality, he understands the game perfectly, he has fought for 14 years to be the best without letting himself down, and that shows how he is.
“He is the best I have seen in my life, without a doubt.”
YET another former Los Blancos team-mate of Ronaldo who starred on the international scene with Messi, Garay also ranks Leo as the No1.
Garay revealed: “When people ask me who is the best player ever, I say Leo.
“From the first time I saw him with Argentina Under-15s to this day he continues to amaze me. He has no limit.”
The Everton midfielder spent two years playing alongside Messi at Barcelona and is captained by Ronaldo for the Portuguese national team.
And he claimed: “[Ronaldo] is a very important player, who is always present and ready to play.
“He is very serious about the responsibility of leading our country, we have a great spirit, and he’s a great example for all of us.
“Everyone knows that Messi is very, very good. He does things in games that you cannot explain; he just knows different things and can do it.
“In training, it is a show, because every day he can invent something new.
“You think you’re used to it, but there is always one day you go to the dressing room surprised by something he has done.”
Swedish legend won the Champions League with Messi, early in the Barca star’s career, and played 13 times alongside Ronaldo during his loan spell at Old Trafford.
But Larsson knows who he’d choose, saying: “Cristiano is unlucky to be playing at the same time as Messi.
“Ronaldo is a very good player, but Messi is even better.
“He is out of this world. He’s so good that it’s almost incredible.
“When you see him with the ball at his feet it’s hard to believe that anybody else could do the same. He’s a fantastic player to see.”
Pique played with Ronaldo early in his own Man Utd career and is now a long-serving team-mate of Messi at the Nou Camp.
He has his favourite though, saying: “Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve.
“I always said that Messi has some talent that no one has.
“For me it’s like Messi is not human but [Ronaldo] is the best of the humans.”
Having won back-to-back LaLiga crowns at Barcelona, along with the Uefa Nations League with Portugal, Semedo has enjoyed success with both Messi and Ronaldo.
And he claimed: “Real Madrid have noticed [Ronaldo’s] absence a lot.
“I cannot say that it was bad for [Barcelona] that Cristiano left. With him it would have been a more difficult league for us, more competitive.
“He is a player that requires a lot of attention and care.
“Messi is spectacular. It’s a privilege to play with him, he always surprises, he’s from another planet.”
While the quotes suggest he favours Messi, there is no concrete evidence to prove it, so this goes down as a draw.
A former Man Utd team-mate of Ronaldo during some trophy-laden years and a long-serving Argentina colleague of Messi, Tevez knows both stars very well.
On the debate, he said: “Cristiano always stopped in the gym after training: for him it is an obsession and, being the best in everything.
“Messi plays another sport. For Messi to score three goals [in any given game] is normal.”
Much like Semedo, while it feels Tevez would sway towards Messi, he’s not come out and said it just yet…
Who is the winner?
WITH six draws from the 12 players, many were either unsure of who is truly better or unwilling to rock the boat.
But of the six who did commit to giving an answer, FIVE chose Messi, with just one player picking Ronaldo.
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