Cristiano Ronaldo is like LeBron James while Lionel Messi is comparable to Steph Curry, according to NBA coach Steve Clifford.
Ronaldo and Messi, between them winners of the past eight Ballon d’Or awards and star players of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, are used to being up against each other, but perhaps never in this sense.
Football and basketball don’t often cross paths but Clifford thinks the players’ superstar status, physique and playing style makes them comparable.
“I would say Messi, of the current players, would be more like Steph Curry,” the Charlotte Hornets head coach told ESPN.
“You know, totally skilled-based. Not as physically imposing. I would say Ronaldo would be more like LeBron. Obviously a great skill level, but also Ronaldo’s speed and strength is also so exceptional.”
“He’s the best player – now I would say from a money standpoint and everything and endorsements, I don’t know how much he makes, but I’m sure it’s pretty incredible.”
Like Ronaldo and Messi’s eternal rivalry born out in El Clasico twice a season, LeBron went up against Curry in the recent NBA finals.
And in this case Ronaldo’s basketball guise came out on top as LeBron helped Cleveland Cavaliers beat Curry’s Golden State Warriors to reverse the result of the 2015 showdown.
The comparison might be the wrong way round, however, as Ronaldo’s goalscoring prowess is perhaps more akin to that of Curry than LeBron’s all- round skills.
Although both undoubtedly sit at the top of the game, Ronaldo has been enjoying himself more than Messi of late.
As the Portugal star readies himself for the final of the European Championships in France, Messi is considering his future with Argentina after losing another final.
The 29-year-old missed his spot kick and suffered defeat on penalties to Chile for successive years in the Copa America final, while he was also on the receiving end of a 1-0 loss in the 2014 World Cup final to Germany.
However, it was Messi’s Barcelona that pipped Real Madrid by one point to take the La Liga title last season.
Like many before him Clifford, a Manchester United fan, refused to be drawn on which he would prefer in his side stating either would make him happy.
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