Nicolas Anelka Slams Ronaldo and Messi; Says Careers are not Intelligent

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By Martin Graham | 1st Apr 2022

Former Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City forward Nicolas Anelka has slammed the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as being unintelligent.

Ronaldo left Juventus after three years with the Serie A giants. He joined them in the 2018/19 season amid pomp and pageantry as the Turin club believed they had secured the missing piece in their UEFA Champions League trophy search.

After achieving many personal career milestones and adding a few more domestic title medals to his trophy cabinet, the former Real Madrid man left the club for a return to Manchester United, failing to deliver on his Champions League mandate.

His eternal rival, Lionel Messi, also ended his association with Barcelona after the 2020/21 season due to contractual issues. Barcelona’s financial woes forced Messi out of the club, despite all the efforts to find a solution.

He moved to PSG in a glamorous move which also made the Parisiens believe that they had assembled the ultimate team to win the Champions League.

PSG were knocked out of the tournament in the round of 16 and that has already got tongues wagging. Messi is also struggling to find his blistering form in the French capital.

Both players, however, continue to show glimpses of their quality, with Ronaldo’s 18 goals in all competitions being Manchester United’s highest individual goal tally this season, and Messi’s 10 Ligue 1 assists being the joint highest for the club and the league.

Their careers are over, Anelka says

Nicolas Anelka believes the duo didn’t choose wisely when they opted for their next steps.

“This is what happens to players who want to play longer,” Anelka told RMC Sport . “Their careers are over and I think they must both be very happy with what they have achieved in the last 15 years. They were above the others and now it is normal for them to slow down.

“I was more surprised with Messi than with Ronaldo, I thought that Messi would turn around in France and Ronaldo would have more difficulties in England because, for me, the Premier League is the most demanding championship in the world.

“[They] were not intelligent. They should have thought of facing a less complicated challenge because you have to make the right decisions to finish at the top. There are players who don’t hesitate to finish at 32, 33, 34 so as not to be criticised. I stopped at 36, but at 32 I went to China.”

Both players can find solace in Arthur Melo’s recent interview, however, as he praised both their talents and influence on his view of the sport.

The 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder has played with both superstars at various stages of his life. Of Messi, Arthur said: “Messi… it seems that God pointed his finger at him. He is an alien because, on the field, he does some incredible things,” he said.

“Watching their games at home, of course at home you can see the whole field. Inside the field you see just part of that and the ball, but Messi seems that he is looking at the entire field from above.

“He is reserved, but also outgoing. A great professional, he works a lot. He has a more reserved life, maybe not like Cristiano or Neymar, but because of his personality he can do whatever he wants.

“He also helped me a lot when I arrived at Barcelona. He spoke highly of me in interviews in my early days in Europe. It has also been a privilege to work with him.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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