X

Lionel Messi Beats Cristiano Ronaldo in Mass Poll by Madrid-Based Paper Marca

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 21:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during a UEFA Champions League Group F match between FC Barcelona and AFC Ajax at the Camp Nou Stadium on October 21, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has surprisingly beaten Cristiano Ronaldo in a poll run by Madrid-based newspaper Marca asking which footballer is the best of all time.

The pair are constantly compared with an ongoing debate as to who is the best player of their generation, and Marca readers have made their opinion known with 81,000 participants voting. 

Not only has Messi beaten Real Madrid's Ronaldo, but he has also overcome former Bernabeu stars Zinedine Zidane and Alfredo Di Stefano along with Diego Maradona and Brazilian legend Pele.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 04:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 4, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Per Marca: "Asked about Cristiano Ronaldo and his place in the history of football, MARCA.com readers put the Portuguese as the second best player ever. Fans believe only Messi is placed higher."

The Argentine Camp Nou star beat Ronaldo by 11 per cent as the best player of all time. while Maradona came third.

MARCA in English @MARCAinENGLISH

Messi and Cristiano on the all-time podium of football http://t.co/45i42FcSrY http://t.co/x2kRViJook

The result comes as something of a surprise considering the rivalry between Los Blancos and Barca and the fact that Marca is a newspaper based in the former's city.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has gone so far in the past—when talking about Real's attempts to sign Ronaldo from the Old Trafford club in 2008—to suggest a link between the publication and the Bernabeu club, per Andy Hunter in The Guardian.

"You get used to Madrid's performances on these things," said Ferguson. "[Ramon] Calderon's talking, [the coach Bernd] Schuster's talking, they use Marca as their vehicle to unsettle players."

However, just days after the Argentine beat the former United man in the race to equal Raul's all-time Champions League scoring record, Marca's readers have now put Barcelona's Messi above Real's Ronaldo.

Telegraph Football @TeleFootball

Messi equals Raul's Champions League record. Nice graphic showing how he did it http://t.co/LadQdk0y2z http://t.co/QQHBDsu5Ba

Wayne RooneyRonaldo's former team-mate, recently joined the debate surrounding Messi and the Real star—the 29-year-old going against the Marca view.

He told MUTV (h/t the club's official website)"He’s had an incredible two or three years and I think he has certainly overtaken Lionel Messi now as the best player in the world."

The debate will continue to rage among football fans the world over, but it seems Marca's readers have made their opinion clear for now, with Messi regarded as not just the best footballer currently playing but of all time.

Whether that opinion will change over time remains to be seen, but with both Messi and Ronaldo still likely to be playing for some time yet, there is certainly more to come from the two footballing greats. 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.