Ronaldo-Messi debate goes far deeper than goals scored

   ABSENT Antonella Roccuzzo did not attend Messi's first World Cup game in Russia

Ronaldo's play has backed up his statement, with a World Cup leading four goals already coming off his foot.

In addition, the defender cited Ronaldo's work ethic, as he continues to battle having achieved so much success in his career, as something that can't help but inspire his Portugal team-mates.

Pragmatic, uninspiring and too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal's performance at the World Cup is starting to bear an uncanny resemblance to their victorious Euro 2016 campaign.

But Sampaoli down-played the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo, even saying, "Right now we shouldn't compare these two players".

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo headed his team to a 1-0 victory over Morocco in their World Cup Group B match on Wednesday to put them in the driving seat for a spot in the next round and seal the North Africans' early exit.

Iran plays Portugal in their final Group B match on Monday before Spain take on Morocco.

"We´re nearly there (knockout stages) and then we´ll see". So, we knew that Morocco would be trying very hard.

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"It was a surprise at the start because they were so strong", he added.

"I think then Messi would go down as one of the greatest in all-time history along with Pele, (Johan) Cruyff and (Franz) Beckenbauer".

"I can say one thing; you can only win the European championship and the World Cup by playing well; the concept of what is pretty or not, is something else".

Argentina only qualified for the World Cup due to Messi's heroics in a crunch qualifier against Ecuador, as the Barca star scored a hat-trick to secure qualification.

Since switching allegiances from the country of his birth, Brazil, to play for Spain ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Costa has not always seemed the flawless fit for La Roja's tiki-taka style.

"Fraud. He (Messi) has been a fraud internationally since he started his career and we're seeing it really come to the surface now".

"I think there has been a great debate about him (Ronaldo) and Messi but over the last six months I think he's on a new level - Ronaldo's out there on his own", Keane said on ITV.

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