Gareth Bale, the former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo, has snubbed the Portuguese and chosen his fierce rival Lionel Messi as the best Champions League winner.
The former Real Madrid winger was part of the iconic BBC trio at the club during his time, along with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. So one may think the Welsh footballer would choose Ronaldo over Messi. But it is not the case.
Before the UCL final between Manchester City and Inter Milan yesterday, Gareth Bale gave an interview to the UCL media team. There he was asked to say who he thought was the best player to win the UCL. He didn’t hesitate as he quickly said ‘Lionel Messi’.
• Best player to have ever won the UEFA Champions League?— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) June 10, 2023
Gareth Bale: “Messi.”
It is a bit surprising considering Bale won four UCL trophies with Ronaldo along with a historic three-peat.
Who is the best player in Champions League history?
The question of who is the best Champions League player remains in dispute among fans. But as obvious there are only two candidates to this question. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom excelled in every football stat and rivaled each other.
But in the Champions League, it is safe to say that Ronaldo holds a slight advantage over Messi. There is a reason he is dubbed ‘Mr Champions League’ by fans. The reasons are very simple.
Cristiano happens to be the player with the most UCL titles at 5. While he isn’t the only one with 5, he has featured in every final and has also been a crucial factor, if not the most crucial factor, in each of those campaigns. He has also won the competition with two different clubs.
He is also the all-time top scorer of the UCL at 140 goals. Messi was second with 129 goals, but the Argentine has already left European football for Inter Miami. Ronaldo is also the all-time appearance maker with 183 appearances for three clubs, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. His 42 assists also make him the top assister in the UCL.
Ronaldo’s UCL status was further solidified by his big-game performance. He scored goals against Bayern Munich, Juventus, and many other big clubs. His performances often helped inspire his team to iconic comebacks and big-margin victories. Ronaldo had a knack for scoring in the latter stages of the competition, matches which were of a high voltage and pressurized nature.
This view of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick vs Juventus is insane 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Ru6UKqMnIN— TC (@totalcristiano) February 1, 2022
He also arguably has the best goal in UCL history. His UCL semi-final bicycle kick goal against Juventus in 2018 is considered by many as the finest scored in the competition. Even the opposition fans applauded him.
Cristiano’s three-peat UCL success at Real Madrid is the highlight of his career. For three years, he dominated in the UCL competition scoring goals for fun. There is no doubt that no other players have dominated the UCL as much as Ronaldo.
How was Gareth Bale’s friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid?
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo played five seasons together in the Spanish capital. He joined in 2013 from Tottenham, for a €100 million transfer fee that had bested Ronaldo’s one from back in 2009.
Both of them won four UCLs and plenty of trophies together. They also demolished many opposition teams, often scoring goals for fun. But how was their relationship?
There were many rumours that the pair had fallen out with Ronaldo not liking Bale. But Bale did not hesitate to speak on the matter.
In an interview with MailOnline, he said, “Cristiano is an incredible player, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with him. Obviously, the media try and hype up these problems which were never there.”
“We got on really well. He’s an incredible player and what he did for the club with the amount of goals he scored. An incredible player and he is still going now.”
While they don’t speak much these days, it is normal for them to have an amicable relationship. Bale is currently retired while Ronaldo is currently the face of the Saudi League playing for Al Nassr.