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Speaking ahead of the Manchester derby later this weekend, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest players alongside Lionel Messi.
Guardiola’s Manchester City will square off against local rivals Manchester United on Sunday in the Premier League. They will be coming up against Ronaldo, who returned to England last summer from Juventus.
The Portuguese maverick has been disappointing since the start of 2022 after a largely positive first half of the campaign. But, Guardiola is not one to underestimate the 37-year-old, whom he called one of the finest footballers alongside his former Barcelona protege Lionel Messi.
Speaking to the media (h/t Man City), he said: “He [Ronaldo] has been one of the greatest of the last 15 years alongside Messi – what these guys have done, we won’t see again.”
Since returning to Old Trafford in the summer, Ronaldo has produced a tally of 15 goals and three assists from 30 games in all competitions. With Manchester United struggling to string together a run of results, the former Real Madrid superstar has come in for some criticism of late.
But the former Barcelona head coach insisted that it was only natural for players like Ronaldo and Messi to be under scrutiny after everything they had achieved in their careers.
“When you do this you are under more scrutiny. He was too good and as a finisher he is exceptional. It was a joy to watch him these years,” Guardiola added.
While Ronaldo returned to his old stomping grounds last summer, Messi bid goodbye to his, as he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after his Barcelona contract ran out.
In contrast to his eternal rival, Messi started slowly in France but has picked things up since the turn of the year. The 34-year-old has a tally of seven goals and 11 assists from 23 games for the Ligue 1 giants.
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