Roy Keane gives his verdict on the Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo debate as he nominates a clear winner
Argentina talisman Messi has generally been saluted for being a step or two ahead of Portugal superstar Ronaldo, but Keane has an alternative view as he talked up the qualities of his former Manchester United team-mate.
"I think there has been a great debate about him (Ronaldo) and Messi but over the last six months I think he's on a new level – Ronaldo's out there on his own," Keane said on ITV.
"It's not natural ability, as brilliant as he is, it's sheer hard work. He's got a lot of courage, he's brave and the guy is a genius.
"I think his form over the last few months I'd have him above of Messi."
Keane's fellow panelist Ian Wright also backed Ronaldo in his long-running battle with Messi, as he took his goal tally at Russia 2018 to four after his winner against Morocco on Wednesday.
"What he has proven going into the World Cup with the pressure he's under, this is his fourth World Cup, the way he's started, he has shown it's not just ability, its hard work. He's getting the fruits of all that work over the years," stated the former Arsenal striker.
"I think that with Ronaldo he's been in different leagues, out of his comfort zone. Ronaldo when he left Portugal, even at Manchester United, I remember he had a year where they said he can go back (but he wanted to stay and fight at Old Trafford).'
"I think in years to come, we've been fortunate to watch both at the height of their powers, but in years to come I think Ronaldo will pinch it for me."