Lionel Messi is “more technically gifted” than Cristiano Ronaldo, says Romario, but a Portuguese superstar is also “among the five best players in history”.
They have shared 10 Ballons d’Or between them, broken numerous records and collected countless individual and collective honours.
Debate still rages, though, as to who can consider themselves to be the best.
Personal opinion and allegiance shape the thinking of many, with it no surprise to see that World Cup winner Romario is a member of the Messi fan club.
As a man with strong ties to Camp Nou, the former Barcelona striker was always going to side with a mercurial Argentine in Catalunya.
The ex-Brazil international is an admirer of Ronaldo, but he considers the Portuguese’s eternal rival to shade things when it comes to natural ability and entertainment factor.
Romario told Fox Sports Brasil: “I love Messi, he's great, but it must also be said Cristiano Ronaldo is among the five best players in history.
“If I had to choose one to play with, I would stay with Messi.
“He's more technically gifted, I'd rather see Leo than Cristiano.”
Messi is among those to have followed in the footsteps of the legendary Barcelona sides that Romario formed part of under the guidance of Johan Cruyff.
The club have always boasted strong ties to talented performers from South America and appear set to benefit from those skill sets in the years to come.
Romario is, however, able to acknowledge the ability of others and is not surprised to have seen Ronaldo take up a standing alongside Messi in the modern day and all-time pecking order.
“It's necessary to celebrate him, he works to be the best. I think his evolution is a direct result of that work.”
Ronaldo, who suffered an untimely knock on his most recent outing for Portugal, has netted 24 times in 36 appearances for Juventus this season.
Messi, meanwhile, has found the target on 39 occasions across 37 games for Barcelona – although he too picked up an injury during the international break after returning to the Argentina fold for the first time since the 2018 World Cup.