Antonio Cassano likened Cristiano Ronaldo to Rafael Nadal and Lionel Messi to Roger Federer as the former Real Madrid forward praised the two football superstars.
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the sport over the past decade, splitting the last 10 Ballons d'Or as former players, pundits and fans debate the pair's standing among the best ever.
And after Ronaldo swapped European champions Real Madrid for Italian giants Juventus in a sensational €112million transfer completed this week, Cassano used tennis greats Nadal and Federer to compare the 33-year-old Portugal captain and Barcelona icon Messi.
"I love Messi not as a counter-point to Cristiano, but because in my view he's the best of all time and the emotions he gives me are unique," former Italy international Cassano told Vanity Fair.
"If I have to rationalise it or convince you, I ask you to find me someone else who handles the ball and scores so consistently as Messi.
"Cristiano lacks nothing, let's be clear, but that's not the point. I love tennis. Now, Cristiano is like Nadal, a fantastic athlete built on talent, but also hard work and desire.
"Messi is more like Federer. He is pure artistry and class. They are different, and you can prefer one to the other. I am with Messi, as he can make the difference even when standing still, he almost doesn't need physical fitness."
"I also named my second child after Lionel," Cassano added.
Ronaldo scored 44 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 as Madrid won their third successive Champions League crown.
Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer, Ronaldo – who arrived from Manchester United in 2009 – helped deliver 15 trophies during his illustrious spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"He has these gifts from Mother Nature, but above all his mentality, the consistency of his training, his professionalism – all the things I hated," Cassano said.
"I admire him a great deal for his ability to always be focused. He'll remain in history forever as one of the greats and he deserved this success, because he earned it through talent, but above all through hard work.
"I was fortunate enough to play for Real Madrid when it was the team of the Galacticos. I know how it works there. Real is bigger than any one champion, even one who scored 450 goals, so I'm not surprised the sold him. They did without David Beckham, Ronaldo and Raul, so they can survive without him."
"Cristiano will have a wonderful new experience, Juve will pay him a rich salary, but are still happy because €100m for a player like that is a bargain," Cassano continued.
"He is 33 years old according to his birth certificate, but he looks after his physique so carefully it's almost maniacal. With the level of this Serie A, he can score 30-40 goals per season for a long while yet."
17. Oktober 2018
|Pogba and Mourinho disagreement over Instagram video, confirms Pereira|
|Nuggets coach Malone signs contract extension|
|Mayweather accepts Khabib´s challenge: ´We´re fighting´|
|Slovenia sack Kavcic as head coach|
|Morgan and Rashid star as England win rain-reduced ODI in Sri Lanka|
|Romagnoli aims to make Gattuso proud in Milan derby|
|Naldo signs Schalke extension|
|Bills to start quarterback Anderson against Colts with Allen out|
|O´Sullivan makes 147 at ´hellhole´|
|Barcelona know when captain Messi is angry – Abidal|
|Bertens loss hands Pliskova last WTA Finals berth|
|Liverpool star Mane undergoes hand surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Happy hunting ground for title-chasing Hamilton - US GP in numbers|
|Canelo signs record-breaking DAZN deal|
|England hit by another Vunipola injury absence|
|Gruden: Oakland Raiders ´aren´t tanking´|
|Chiesa focused and happy at Fiorentina|
|We´ll see what´s possible - Henry not limiting Monaco´s ambitions|
|Wembley sale off after Khan offer withdrawn|
|Football needs people like Arsene - Pires keen for Wenger return|
|Abbas five-for torments woeful Australia as Pakistan take control|
|Henry: Wenger and Guardiola inspirations for my coaching career|
|Pires backs Henry and Vieira for Ligue 1 success|
|Bolt rejects Valletta offer|
|Wenger ready for January return to management – but where?|
|NBA 2018-19: The LeBron James effect on teams he has joined|
|Svitolina qualifies for WTA Finals after Pliskova loses|
|Genoa will sell ´superstar´ Piatek, admits president|
|Moutinho targets European qualification with Wolves|
|Embiid: 76ers-Celtics isn´t a rivalry, they always kick our a**|
|Vinicius ´calm´ as he waits for Real Madrid chance|
|Nothing else to say - Ramos posts clip of supposed Sterling stamp|
|Chiellini joins Mind the Gap campaign to help players prepare for retirement|
|Injured Kusal Perera replaced by Kusal Mendis in Sri Lanka squad|
|Big names return for Scotland´s November Tests|
|Essien tells Loftus-Cheek to stay and fight for Chelsea chance|
|Nainggolan relishing challenge of first Milan derby|
|Curry: Slap me if I tire of championship celebrations|
|Sevilla don´t fear Messi or Barca – Kjaer|
|Low: Dropped Muller is still very important for Germany|
|Hayward put ´dark memories´ behind him with Celtics return|
|I hope I´m in Klopp´s good books! - Koeman jokes after resting Wijnaldum|
|Rested Fellaini should be fit for Manchester United, says Martinez|
|France´s mentality must be right - Lloris|
|Bellinger seals dramatic win as Dodgers level up NLCS|
|Curry, Durant lead Warriors past Thunder|
|Kjaer surprised by LaLiga-leading Sevilla as Machin´s men remain grounded|
|A-League preview: Honda the big arrival as fascinating season awaits|
|Mexico 0 Chile 1: Sanchez helps La Roja to late win|
|Celtics too good for 76ers in NBA opener|
|United States 1 Peru 1: Flores salvages late draw for visitors|
|Martinez not worried about Belgium depth|
|Red Sox move ahead of Astros in ALCS|
|Depay ´a joy to watch´, says Koeman|
|Timberwolves owner looking to trade Butler, backs Thibodeau|
|Shepard says Giants have ´total faith´ in Manning|
|Hazard is out of this world – De Ligt enjoys Belgium test|
|Tite: Brazil were better than Argentina|
|Foley eyes World Cup after re-signing with Wallabies, Waratahs|
|Low slams decisive France penalty call|
|I fined him for his goal at Old Trafford! Giggs delighted for Wales hero Wilson|
|Matuidi lauds Deschamps´ tactical nous after Germany win|
|Scaloni excited by Argentina despite Brazil loss|
|Tsonga back in business, Dzumhur dumped out in Moscow|
16. Oktober 2018
|Germany suffer six defeats in a year for first time|
|Many clubs have asked about Piatek - agent|
|Bartomeu: Barca open to defensive reinforcements after Vermaelen injury|
|Bonn spoil PAOK´s landmark European game|
|Konta conquers Mertens in Moscow|
|Republic of Ireland 0 Wales 1: Wilson stunner moves Giggs´ side top|