‘Ronaldo has some of Maradona’s passion, Messi has none’ – Former Sporting boss Jesus compares icons

Lionel Messi Diego Maradona Cristiano Ronaldo
The experienced Portuguese coach, who is currently with Benfica, considers a 1986 World Cup-winning Argentine to be the best of all time

Cristiano Ronaldo boasts “a little” of the passion that Diego Maradona had, says former Sporting boss Jorge Jesus, but Lionel Messi is considered to have “nothing”.

Two icons of the modern era have taken up a standing alongside an Argentine legend on football’s list of all-time greats.

Ronaldo has starred for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus since stepping out of Sporting’s academy system.

Messi has followed in the footsteps of a fellow countryman by becoming a talismanic presence at Barcelona.

Both can claim to have enjoyed similar on-field success to Maradona, although World Cup glory has so far eluded both.

Jesus believes a man who guided his country to global glory in 1986 continues to stand above a couple of superstars in the present, with no-one able to match the intensity of an enigmatic figure who has passed away at the age of 60.

“Today, among the best two in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has a little of that (what Maradona had). Messi has nothing. He doesn't have any passion,” experienced Portuguese tactician Jesus, who is currently in charge of Benfica, told reporters.

“Messi is a great player. But we're talking about life and feelings, having passion for the game and for football. I think Maradona was above anyone in that regard.”

Jesus considers Maradona, who achieved remarkable things with Napoli and Argentina, to be the best to have ever played the game, with his “genius” set to stand the test of time.

The 66-year-old added: “Maradona was the best player ever, along with Pele.

“Pele's still here, he's alive. Maradona was greater, not just because he was a genius, but because of how he showed it. That makes the difference for me. 

“He was absolutely world-class, but he had a passion for the game, he was born to be a footballer, he was born with everything.

“It was not a product of work, he was born like that. But he still loved having the ball.”

Tributes continue to pour in from around the world in the wake of Maradona’s passing, with sporting institutions across the globe paying their respects to a larger-than-life character.