Harry Kane Closing on Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo's Level Says Rio Ferdinand

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2017

NICOSIA, CYPRUS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates victory with the match ball after the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Apoel Nicosia and Tottenham Hotspur at GSP Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Nicosia, Cyprus.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Harry Kane's goalscoring record this year is on a similar level to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Rio Ferdinand—while his Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has gone further by suggesting the England man has the edge over Ronaldo right now. 

Per MailOnline's Tom Farmery, BT Sport pundit Ferdinand commented after Kane bagged a hat-trick—his sixth in 2017to hand Tottenham Hotspur a 3-0 win over APOEL Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League:

"Those kind of stats are up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"He's quickly letting people know that he is here to stay. A couple of seasons ago everyone was asking if he could repeat his first two seasons by getting 20-plus goals.

"He's scoring all types of goals. He'd be a nightmare to play against at centre-half."

Kane broke the deadlock in the first half when he latched onto Toby Alderweireld's threaded through ball and applied a left-footed finish.

He stroked home Moussa Sissoko's cross with his right before completing his so-called perfect hat-trick with a header from Kieran Trippier's ball.

Soon after, Premier League legend Peter Schmeichel told The Debate on Sky Sports he believes Kane is the deadliest hitman in the English top flight:

Although he has much competition in that regard, his numbers this year would bear that out, per OptaJoe:

Pochettino also likened him to Real Madrid star Ronaldo, even suggesting his youth gives him the edge.

According to The Sun's Paul Jiggins, he said: "Cristiano Ronaldo is fantastic, one of the best. But Harry is one of the best and maybe better because he is younger."

The 24-year-old has a long way to go before he can be considered an equal to Messi or Ronaldo—if he ever will be—but his stats this year are comparable.

Ronaldo struck twice on Tuesday as Real beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1.
Ronaldo struck twice on Tuesday as Real beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1.ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

As Opta noted, the Englishman has struck 34 times in 30 matches for Spurs in 2017. Ronaldo has a similarly impressive record of 31 goals in 33 matches, while Messi has netted 43 goals in 41 appearances.

In terms of hat-tricks, Kane has now bagged six this year, having earlier done so against West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Fulham, Hull City and scored four goals against Leicester City.

Messi and Ronaldo have produced two hat-tricks apiece in 2017. The former grabbed four goals against Eibar and netted a hat-trick against Espanyol, while Ronaldo's hat-tricks came against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter and semi-finals, respectively.

As reported by MailOnline's Tom Bassam, Kane remained humble after the match while speaking to BT Sport, singling out Alderweireld, Sissoko and Trippier for their assists, though he also spoke of his ambition: "Of course [winning big trophies is the aim], any big player would tell you that's what they want to do. They want to win Premier Leagues, Champions Leagues, FA Cups, that's what we want to try and do."

Kane is yet to win any silverware in his career—a potential barrier some may feel separates him from the very best.

It does not take away from his abilities as a footballer, though, and while he's a long way off Messi and Ronaldo—who have scored more than 500 and 600 career goals each—he has proved time and again he is an outstanding player in his own right.