Eric Bailly has offered a unique take on one of the longest-running debates in world football, with the Manchester United defender saying: “If you ask me, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, I’d say Sergio Ramos”.
For well over a decade now, questions regarding the best of all time have tended to focus on Argentine and Portuguese superstars gracing the books of Barcelona and Juventus.
Opinion can be divided, with Bailly taking things one step further by completely overlooking a duo with 11 Ballons d’Or between them and throwing an entirely different option into the mix.
What has been said?
Asked for his take on the ‘greatest’ debate, Bailly has told Guillem Balague’s YouTube channel: “My greatest inspiration has always been Ramos.
“I've admired him for a long time, because of what he does in football and how he keeps going at a high level.
“For me, he's one of the best players in the history of football. Everyone has an opinion, but he is one of the best, the perfect reference point for me.
“If you ask me, Messi or Ronaldo, I’d say Ramos.”
Why is Ramos considered to be one of the best?
The Real Madrid centre-half has, like Messi and Ronaldo, spent several years at the very top of his chosen profession.
He has been at Santiago Bernabeu since 2005, with 668 appearances made for one of the biggest sporting institutions on the planet, while registering a remarkable haul of 100 goals from the back.
Ramos has lifted five La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey, four Champions League crowns and four Club World Cups.
He has also taken in 178 outings for Spain, becoming the most-capped European player in history, and helped La Roja to glory at the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back Euros in 2008 and 2012.
What does the future hold for Ramos?
Despite being a long-serving stalwart at Real Madrid, the iconic centre-half is seeing his current contract run down.
As things stand, the 34-year-old is due to hit free agency in the summer.
Various landing spots have been mooted for him, with no fresh terms thrashed out in the Spanish capital, and a new challenge could be on the cards.
United are among those to have been linked with Ramos, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is urged to bolster his back line, and it could be that Bailly finds himself lining up alongside his idol in 2021-22.