The coach believes that his compatriot is unfairly criticised for having lofty aspirations, suggesting he has been won over after previously considering Lionel Messi to be better
Cristiano Ronaldo’s ambition is often unfairly mistaken for arrogance and he should now be considered a better player than Lionel Messi, according to Andre Villas-Boas.
The Real Madrid forward is the favourite to win the Fifa Ballon d’Or, which will be awarded this coming Monday, for being the best player of 2014 ahead of Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Some of Ronaldo’s critics in the past have labelled him as arrogant, but Villas-Boas – who now coaches Zenit St Petersburg – believes that is an incorrect assumption and that the 29-year-old deserves more respect.
“I think sometimes drive and ambition of individuals should not be confused as arrogance, and sometimes Cristiano gets that tag on him,” the Portuguese trainer told Laureus as part of the sports academy’s World Sportsman of the Year award build-up.
“He is a bit ‘chased’ publicly in some way and I do not understand why, but I think this kind of phenomenon happens to him.
“Cristiano does not get that margin of respect that sometimes Messi does, but you know hopefully this determination and passion has shown that for this time round he deserves to win it.”
The ex-Porto and Chelsea boss admitted he used to admire Barcelona No.10 Messi more than his Portuguese compatriot, but that Ronaldo has upped his game over the past two years to unexpected and unprecedented levels.
“In the past I have been in favour of Messi, but the drive, the ambition and the performances of Cristiano recently exceed limits,” he added. “We are speaking about two of the greatest players in the history of the game.
“What I would say is that in this generation they are both incredible. I think Cristiano this year 2014 and also going back to 2013 has been amazing.”
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