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."
|Valverde doesn´t regret resting Messi despite Barcelona loss|
|In my heart and in my prayers - Ben Yedder pays tribute to missing Sala|
|Real Madrid reclaim world´s highest-earning club title from Manchester United|
|Messi absence no excuse for Barcelona loss, says Suarez|
|Humble Higuain excited by Sarri reunion|
|He must not come and cry after – Goncalves unapologetic over Neymar injury|
|Serie A record-breaker under Sarri - the Opta numbers behind new Chelsea striker Higuain|
|PSG boss Tuchel ´worried´ after Neymar sent to hospital with another foot injury|
|Coles commits to New Zealand and Hurricanes until 2021|
|Guardiola praises City mentality on ´dangerous´ Burton pitch|
|England won ´attritional´ battle, says Anderson after latest landmark|
|AEK, Brose Bamberg secure last-16 spots|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 0: Resting Messi backfires for Copa del Rey holders|
|Sarri: Chelsea players agree with me on motivation comments|
|Morata asked to leave Chelsea a month ago, says Sarri|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2 Strasbourg 0: Neymar suffers injury scare in Coupe victory|
|Anderson´s four-wicket haul rocks Windies|
|Burton Albion 0 Manchester City 1 (0-10 agg): Holders coast through to clinch Wembley return|
|PSG´s Neymar hobbles off in Coupe de France clash|
|De Ligt bored of Ajax departure rumours|
|Piatek completes AC Milan move after Higuain exit|
|Super Bowl LIII: Rams RBs v Patriots RBs|
|Chelsea seal Higuain loan|
|Ismaily kicked out of CAF Champions League after fans throw stones, bottles|
|England star Itoje pens new Saracens deal|
|Palace keeper Hennessey charged over Instagram post|
|Chelsea warn supporters over anti-Semitic chanting ahead of Tottenham EFL Cup tie|
|Joshua primed to make call on next opponent|
|Super Bowl LIII: Brady v Goff|
|Sala search suspended as Cardiff chairman confirms club wanted different travel arrangements|
|Cruyff, Koeman, Kluivert - De Jong following pantheon of Dutch Barca greats|
|Sarfraz apologises for comments picked up by stump mic|
|Djokovic: Pouille deserves top-10 spot|
|Hazard must be more demanding if he wants to leave Chelsea, says Ballack|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving to sit out Cavs game with flu-like symptoms|
|Barcelona seal €86m De Jong deal|
|Vietnam v Japan: Moriyasu happy to keep doing just enough|
|Hendricks, De Kock and Steyn join up with Proteas squad|
|Lorenzo excited for ´new level´ at Repsol Honda|
|Fernando replaces injured Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad|
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|
|Djokovic will not discuss potential Nadal showdown yet|
|A Federer-Nadal double? Even historic scalps may not be enough for Tsitsipas|
|Raonic to assess knee injury, hopes to avoid surgery|
|Barcelona right to fine ´complicated´ Dembele, says Ter Stegen|
|Higuain and Piatek on the move on busy day for Milan|
|Philippe and Vince humble the Hurricanes|
|Nishikori: I couldn´t beat anybody on one leg|
|Boateng poised for debut as Barcelona axe Suarez|
|Shami sets record in crushing win after sun stops play|