The names Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have stayed with millions of football fans, for more than a decade now.
With the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry having influenced the game like no other, both players are also truly on course to end their careers at some point in future, as undoubtedly the greatest footballers ever.
As of the current season, both players are enjoying a great time with their respective clubs. With 43 goals across competitions this season, Messi leads the race for the European Golden Shoe, while Ronaldo has accounted for 25 goals himself.
But for former Bayern Munich manager Ottmar Hitzfield, these numbers apparently do not seem enough, as he is of the opinion that both players are “not as outstanding” as they used to be – a rather surprising take at two of the leading names in the game right now.
It was in his recent interview with Omnisport that Hitzfield dropped his suggestion, when asked about the chances of various English teams to win the Champions League this season.
For the first time in several years, as many as four English teams (Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool) have qualified for the last-eight in Europe’s prime footballing competition. Hitzfield believes that these sides have a better shot at the title, thanks to both Messi and Ronaldo “showing a decline” despite remaining the most important players of their respective teams Barcelona and Juventus.
“I believe that English clubs have good chances again this year. They just have a lot of potential,” Hitzfeld said, before adding his take on the two stars:
“And, maybe, because Messi is not as outstanding as in his best times with Barcelona, also Cristiano Ronaldo. He still makes his goals, but it will be difficult for Juventus to get into the last four, although they are always tactically excellently set up.”
The Catalans are all set to face Manchester United at Old Trafford, for the first leg of the UCL Quarter-finals on April 10th, while Juventus will lock horns with AFC Ajax in their identical fixture on the same day.
The other quarter-final games are between Manchester City and Tottenham, and Liverpool and FC Porto.
“I’m more likely to think of an English team [winning], so Manchester City or Liverpool. One of them will certainly reach the final,” Hitzfield concluded.
Both Messi and Ronaldo will be keen to prove the former Munich manager wrong, while getting ready to play the most important games for them in the season so far.