Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi: Virgil van Dijk reveals his toughest opponent

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play for rival clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after being selected in the FIFPro World 11. (Source: REUTERS/File Photo)

Despite shifting base from Madrid to Turin, it seems that the age-old Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate will never come to an end. Virgil van Dijk, when asked the question, chose to pick Messi over Ronaldo.

The duo are regarded as the game's greatest stars and only a thin line can separate the accolades fetched by the Portuguese and the Argentine. However, Liverpool's centre back Virgil van Dijk considers Messi to be the toughest candidate in terms of defending. The Dutch footballer revealed it during a Q&A session on his official Twitter handle.

When asked to name his toughest opponent, van Dijk replied: "There are some difficult strikers out there but probably Leo Messi."

The defender last tussled against the Argentine in the 2018-19 Champions League semi-final clash against Barcelona, in which the current European champions overturned a 3-0 deficit to script an epic win. In the first leg played at Camp Nou, Messi had netted twice, which included a spectacular free kick.

Van Dijk stood second in the previous Ballon d’Or race, which Messi won for the record sixth time. However, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had then expressed it should have been awarded to the defender instead of Messi.

“But the last season, if you really go for only that season, then I cannot remember a more impressive season for a defender ever, honestly,” said the German. “So it would have been right as well if Virgil would have won it,” Klopp had then said.

The Dutch international also feels that Messi's countrymen and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is the hardest player to be marked.