The Juventus boss followed his Barcelona counterpart’s lead by praising both the superstars before they meet in the Champions League
The debate over which of the multiple Ballons d’Or, Champions League and league winners is the best player around today has raged on for over a decade.
The discussion has come to the fore again as the two stars will go head-to-head once again on Tuesday when Barcelona host Juventus in the final game of the Champions League group stage.
Koeman was asked for his say on the topic, but refused to be drawn on it. He said: “It’s not nice to say who is better because both are incredible, I admire both players because they have given us so many nice evenings with great goals, great titles.”
Juve coach Pirlo says he is just grateful to see the two stars dominate the sport, telling reporters in a press conference: “Koeman was right, it would be wrong to say who is better between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They are two phenomenons that put on spectacles for millions of fans. We just have to thank them.”
Ronaldo has scored 10 goals in nine appearances for the Turin side this season and Pirlo is happy to see him in good form.
“If Cristiano is in good form it means that he is in the right place at the right time and we are good at giving him the ball,” he said.
Juve and Barca are guaranteed to go through to the next round of the Champions League, but the two sides have had inconsistent starts to their league campaigns.
While the Italian side are six points behind league leaders AC Milan, Koeman’s side are said to be in crisis as they sit 12 points adrift of the top after losing 2-1 to Cadiz at the weekend.
Pirlo, though, believes the Spanish side will bounce back before long and says his side must be at their best when they visit Camp Nou.
“I don’t believe at all that they are in crisis. They have strong players and a coach who is putting his ideas together, he needs time like us,” he said.
“It’s strange to see them struggling in La Liga, but it’s normal, they had a season with two coaches and now there is a third, it is normal to have to find better solutions with the players to find the right conditions. They will recover in the league as well.
“They are a great team and tomorrow we’ll have a very good performance. Compared to the first game, we must be better out of possession and be closer to the midfield and defensive lines.