Former Argentina international Willy Caballero has compared Lionel Messi to legendary basketball player Michael Jordan.
Jordan came back into the spotlight last year due to the massive success of his documentary series on Netflix titled ‘The Last Dance’.
Caballero spent the last seven years as a back-up goalkeeper at Manchester City and Chelsea, winning the UEFA Champions League with the latter before his contract expired.
The 39-year-old spoke to Goal.com about what it felt like to play against Lionel Messi and made comparisons with Michael Jordan.
“To play against Messi is a nightmare sometimes.
“Your team will be focusing on Lionel Messi and he creates space for other people then eventually the next person to appear is Messi.
“I had the opportunity to train with him in a small game in the national team. He is a machine, even when he trains, he just wants to win. If you have seen The Last Dance with Michael Jordan, he is like that as he cannot accept losing.
Caballero also briefly shared a dressing room with Messi in the Argentine national set-up and spoke on being teammates with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“He doesn’t accept losing any single game so he is pushing you to win even a small game. I remember one day when we were training before the World Cup against Spain Under-23s.
“In the build-up, he came to me to offer me a solution. I gave him the ball in our box and he ran with the ball at speed against 10 players and scored. Everyone was thinking, ‘what?!’ We saw Messi in the best level possible before the World Cup.
“We were in shock and it was incredible. Sometimes you don’t see that as teams are really focused on Lionel Messi and putting four or five players against him. It is incredible. He is the best player in the world for sure.”
Willy Caballero is currently a free agent following the expiration of his contract with Chelsea.
He also revealed that Thomas Tuchel considered bringing him on for penalties in the final of the UEFA Champions League against his former club Manchester City.
How do Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan compare?
The competitive nature of professional sports means that debates about the greatest players in every sport are a constant staple among fans.
The matter of who the ‘GOAT’ is in any sport is very much a subjective one but some names carry more weight than others by virtue of their exemplary careers.
Football and basketball are two of the most popular sports in the world and Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan are widely regarded as the greatest players in the history of their respective sports.
Messi created history with Barcelona and Argentina and his otherworldly ability was evident from the first day he stepped onto the field.
The 34-year-old is the only man in history to win six Ballons d’Ors and is also immensely decorated at both club and international level.
Michael Jordan spent 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. He is a six-time NBA Finals MVP and five-time NBA MVP, while he also holds several NBA records.
Even the NBA’s official website states in his biography that “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”
The 58-year-old helped popularize the NBA with his record-breaking displays and has gone on to executive management since his retirement.
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