Lionel Messi, Neymar and Harry Kane are preferable options to Cristiano Ronaldo in the present and future, says former Barcelona and Tottenham striker Gary Lineker.
Debate regarding the finest players on the planet continues to rage, with that argument having been dominated by talismanic figures at Barca and Real Madrid for over a decade now.
Messi and Ronaldo have shared 10 Ballons d’Or between them, but there are emerging forces elsewhere – such as Paris Saint-Germain and Spurs – who have their eyes on the prize.
Lineker is the latest to offer his opinion on the cream of the global crop, with the current holder of the most prestigious individual awards in the game being surprisingly snubbed on three occasions.
Lineker was then quizzed on who he would take if given the option of a current superstar at Santiago Bernabeu and a man being heavily linked with an imminent move to the Spanish capital.
He added: “Ronaldo or Neymar? Neymar, but when he played in Barcelona. Neymar is the future, Cristiano has been great.”
While it may be a bit premature to write Ronaldo off as a “has been” at the age of 33, he is certainly closer to the end of his career than those harbouring ambitions of matching his levels.
Among those is Spurs striker Kane – another of those to have sparked talk of a switch to Madrid on the back of prolific exploits in the Premier League.
Linker said when asked to compare the 24-year-old with Ronaldo: “For the future, Kane!”
He also suggested that the struggles being endured by Real and their Portuguese forward this season will be compounded by Clasico foes Barcelona challenging for the biggest honours at home and abroad – with their mercurial Argentine talisman leading the charge.
“I see Barca looking good, strong, maybe a little better in defence, well organised and it is the team that is doing very well in La Liga,” added Lineker, who spent three years in Catalunya during his playing days.
“They have almost won the league, they also have chances in the Champions League. A team that has Messi is always the favourite.”