Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? David Beckham Has His Say

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi, left, and Cristiano Ronaldo at the Ballon d'Or Gala, Zurich, January 12, 2015. David Beckham was asked which player he thought was better. Philipp Schmidli/Getty

It is one of football's greatest questions, one that divides the millions who adore the sport: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi: who's better?

This was put to David Beckham, the former Manchester United and England captain, who played in Spain for Real Madrid from 2003 through 2007.

But even Beckham couldn't choose between the pair.

"They're both unique, a bit like [Zinedine] Zidane in his day—once in a generation players—we'll remember having Messi and Cristiano together," he told Spanish magazine XL Semenal.

"Nobody has got to that level and stayed there for so long. Anyone who knows them always underlines their will to keep getting better—they want to be the best."

This season, Ronaldo has pipped his long-term rival in the goalscoring charts with 51 goals in 49 appearances while the Argentinian has found the back of the net 42 times in 51 games.

But Messi leads the way in individual recognition, as his trophy cabinet contains five Ballon d'Or awards to Ronaldo's three.