Varela: Messi not half as good as Ronaldo

The former Basel man insists people are jealous of the Real Madrid superstar, who he feels has already proven himself superior to his Barcelona rival by excelling in England

Carlos Varela says Lionel Messi is not half as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and claims that the Portuguese would have won more Ballon d’Or awards if he were “ugly”.

Ronaldo is the reigning titleholder and the current favourite to win this year’s prize after inspiring Real Madrid to Champions League glory in May.

The 29-year-old has also been widely lauded for his remarkable goalscoring exploits this season but Varela says that Ronaldo still does not get all of the credit he deserves, something he puts down to jealousy.

“I do not understand how anyone could criticise him,” the former Basel midfielder told AS ahead of Madrid’s Champions League clash with the Swiss champions at St. Jakob Park on Wednesday night. “I think his image has a [negative] effect.

“People are jealous and envious of him. If he were ugly, they would have treated him better.

“He should have won more than two Ballon d’Or awards. Messi is not even half the player that Ronaldo is.

“Messi has not shown the world what he can do another club, unlike Ronaldo, who has already proven himself at Manchester United.”

Ronaldo won the Champions League with United in 2008 before leaving for Madrid the following year.

The Madeira native has since scored 277 goals in 264 games for the Blancos but he is continually compared to four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who became La Liga and the Champions League’s all-time record goalscorer over the past four days.