• Deco played with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
  • Deco said Messi is the type of player who is hard to imagine
  • Deco said Ronaldo worked his way to the top

A former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has shared the differences between the two legendary players.

Only few players get the chance to play with both Ronaldo and Messi. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and retired Portuguese midfielder Anderson Luís de Souza, best known as Deco, was one of the few who had it.

In a recent interview with A Bola (via Sportskeeda), Deco made a detailed comparison between multi-Ballon d’Or winners Messi and Ronaldo. Having played alongside Leo during the formative years of Barcelona, the 42-year-old had a lot to say about the Argentinian icon.

According to Deco, Messi is the type of player one can “hardly imagine.” He also thinks the Barca star could prolong his dominance and is looking forward to seeing if it will be the same when Messi reaches two decades into the sport.

"Lionel Messi number is something you can hardly imagine, you see someone who defines, who watches as one of the greatest in history. He also scored as many goals as the greatest in history and remains a great scorer for 10, 12 years,” Deco said.

"It is almost impossible that before Lionel Messi we could have imagined this, he is a player who will be in memory for life. We will see if in 20 years something similar will appear," he added.

The two-time UEFA Champions League winner also had great things to say about his international side teammate Ronaldo. During his playing years, Deco made 75 appearances for the Portuguese national team and played alongside Ronaldo in three major tournaments. However, Deco pointed out that Ronaldo and Messi are two different beasts. Unlike Messi, whom Deco described as a one-of-a-kind player, Ronaldo, on the other hand, worked his way up to become the super athlete he is today.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is different from Lionel Messi, as a player, but it is impressive how he adapted to his characteristics. In the beginning, he played in the wing, little by little he grew up as a player and is one of the best in history. He is a great athlete,” Deco pointed out.

Brazilian all-time great Ronaldo Nazario also tried to end the decade-long GOAT debate. As per “Il Fenomeno,” Messi is currently “number one” and is unlikely to be replaced for a very long time saying, “he is a talent that will take 20 or 30 years to see something similar.”

ronaldo messi
Sir Alex Ferguson chose Cristiano Ronaldo, left, over Lionel Messi, right, when discussing who's the better of the Ballon d'Or winners. Getty Images