Cristiano Ronaldo Or Lionel Messi? Magnus Carlsen Reveals Real Madrid Forced Him To Take His Name
Magnus Carlsen Reveals Being ‘Forced’ To Call Cristiano Ronaldo His ‘Favourite Player’

It was the football’s own version of “Are you with us or them?”

Back when both of them were operating at the peak of their powers, being asked to choose between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi used to be the most common icebreaker. It was the football’s own version of “Are you with us or them?”


The same question was asked of the chess legend Magnus Carlsen a few years ago when Ronaldo was still playing for Real Madrid, and Messi for Barcelona. Being a lifelong Madrid fan, Carlsen’s answer, which was in favour of the Portuguese superstar, seemed quite obvious.

“I think it’s pretty hard to make a case for anybody else than [Lionel] Messi for his all-round game,” the chess grandmaster said. “My Real Madrid fandom sort of predates the Ronaldo era – the second Ronaldo, not the first one [Ronaldo Nazario]. I always liked Ronaldo but I always kind of thought that Messi was better.”

In a podcast hosted by Lex Fridman, the Norwegian grandmaster revealed how he was pressurised by Real Madrid to take Ronaldo’s name. When asked about his favourite player, Carlsen said Isco but was asked by club officials to change it to Ronaldo.

“I went to quite a number of Madrid games and they’ve always been super helpful to me down there. The only thing is that they were going to do an interview and they were going to ask me who my favourite player was,” he added. “I said somebody else, I think it was Isco at that point, and they were like, ‘Okay, take two, now you say Ronaldo.'”

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Both Ronaldo and Messi have now moved from Spain, with the former plying his trade for Manchester United and the latter for PSG. Messi has had a terrific start to the Ligue 1 campaign, where his partnership with Neymar has been a treat to watch.


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Ronaldo, meanwhile, has gone goalless in the first four games for the first time in a decade. He isn’t starting the games regularly under Erik ten Hag’s rule, and wants to leave the club in order to play the Champions League.


Lead Image: Cristiano Ronaldo/Twitter

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