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HomeSport NewsReferee reveals the differences between dealing with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Referee reveals the differences between dealing with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

A match referee has revealed the key differences between dealing with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch.

Messi and Ronaldo are the two greatest players of their generation, and would regularly face off on the pitch in El Clasico battles between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Given Ronaldo now plays for Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr, and Messi for MLS side Inter Miami, their interactions are now much less frequent.

But they will face off for perhaps the final time as professional footballers in February 2024, when the two sides will take on each other in the Riyadh Super Cup.

Despite their incredible records on the pitch, and their trophy hauls, comparisons between the pair have always been polarising. In the world of social media, Messi versus Ronaldo arguments don’t often end with ‘both’ as the final answer.

But while they have contrasting styles on the pitch – Ronaldo the powerful, predatory goalscorer, Messi the technical wizard that can cut open and dribble through entire defences – what are they like to deal with for officials?

Speaking with Honduran sports paper Diario Diez (quotes via AS), Honduran referee Said Martinez, who has officiated both players, revealed all.

“They are two totally different personalities, but both are great players,” he began. “I don’t think one stands out over the other.

“Refereeing Messi is a little calmer, he is a player who plays the ball and thinks about his game more than anything else. Cristiano Ronaldo is a little more demonstrative without being disrespectful.

“But refereeing them is a privilege anyone would like to have. Seeing them both score a free kick is something I will never forget.

“With Messi, we shook hands before the game. I welcomed him and he thanked me. At the end of the game, I also remember that when everyone was chanting his name, he went to shake my hand, I will always remember that.

“With Cristiano, my anecdote is him complaining to me, confronting me, because I disallowed two of his goals. He didn’t even trust the VAR.

“Before the start of the second half, I called him over and let him know that I didn’t like the way he had come up to me. He admitted he was wrong, and agreed with me.

“Then, he focused on playing and scored a phenomenal goal from a free kick that helped his team win.”

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