Former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha jump into world football debates of making his choice between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In an interview with FIFA’s official website, the former Fernabache and Paris St-Germain playmaker tried to be cautious but ultimately chose Messi saying “I have to be diplomatic here, especially as I have a lot of Portuguese friends, but I intend to lean towards Messi.
“He is a more natural talent. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but he’s been a bit unfortunate to be of the same generation as Messi. Consequently, they have to share the limelight.”
Former Bolton skipper Okocha who busting to limelight with his stunning dribbling skill in the Eintracht Frankfurt, before moving Fernabache after some few years in Turkey with excellent performance at 1998 World Cup in France which saw him set a record £14 million move to PSG made him the most expensive African player of all time for his services.
The 42-year-old then moved on to Bolton Wanderers after the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where he quickly became a cult-favourite for his dribbling and free-kicks. While his International career for Okocha he participated in 3 World Cups and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996, while also lifting AFCON in 1994 with the Super Eagles where he has 75 caps to his name with 14 goals.
”Okocha has prioritized Messi’s individual skill over Ronaldo’s team being successful, which is perhaps a window into how Okocha played himself, However, the Nigerian noted that the player who he most resembles currently is Paris St-Germain’s record signing, Neymar.”
The African legend explained his reasoning, saying “I’d say the player whose style most resembles mine would be Neymar. That’s because I played with a sense of joy and you can see that he feels the same and really enjoys his own play. He doesn’t play for himself or just to entertain the fans he plays for his team. He uses his quality and skill for the good of the team.”
Okocha was perhaps as gifted as Neymar but wasn’t afforded the same chances to perform at the highest level. The Nigerian believes the Brazilian will soon be the best in the world, saying Messi and Ronaldo have dominated world football for a decade and, given the nature of football, at a certain point the baton will have to pass to someone else. I think Neymar has a great chance of filling that role.”