Argentina's Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring from a penalty spot against Paraguay during a Copa America Group B soccer match at Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, onWednesday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Brazilian football great Kaka has given his backing to Lionel Messi in the long-running saga of who is the better player — the Argentine or his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I played with Cristiano and he’s really amazing, but I’ll go with Messi,” said Kaka in an interview with Fifa. “He’s a genius, a pure talent. The way he plays is incredible.”

The debate has been one of the defining characteristics of world football for over a decade. Between 2008 and 2018, Ronaldo and Messi won the Ballon d’Or award. Kaka was the last player to win the award before the pair started their domination. He played with Ronaldo for five years at Real Madrid.

“Cristiano is a machine. It’s not just the way he’s strong, powerful and fast. He’s strong mentally,” Kaka added. “He always wants to win and play. To be the best. For me, that’s the most incredible thing he has. In the history of sport, Messi and Cristiano are definitely in the top five. We are very lucky to have been able to see both of them.”