Sir Alex Ferguson knows a lot about football but his view that Lionel Messi can't 'do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke' hasn't aged well.
The legendary former Manchester United manager once said he didn't think Messi could "score a hat-trick" for the likes of Millwall or Doncaster Rovers, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo.
During an interview with the BBC back in 2015, Ferguson suggested that Ronaldo's physical versatility made him a better overall footballer than his Argentinian rival, and that Messi would find it hard to succeed away from Barcelona.
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"Ronaldo can play for Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, anyone, Doncaster Rovers, and score a hat-trick in a game. I’m not sure Messi could do it," he said.
"Because Ronaldo's got two feet he's quick, great in the air, brave… Messi's brave of course. I think Messi is a Barcelona player – you know what I mean?"
Eight years on, Messi has not only proven that he can sparkle away from the comfort and familiarity of the Camp Nou, but also that he can inspire a relatively-unremarkable side to glory, as he did with Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.
Could Messi score a hat-trick playing for Doncaster? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Granted, that might not be quite the same as scoring a hat-track for Doncaster, but Messi's transformation from ferocious goalscorer to playmaking wizard over the last few years suggests he's far more adaptable than Ferguson gave him credit for.
Ferguson spent six years as Ronaldo's manager after bringing him to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in 2003. The Portugal star scored a whopping 118 goals for the club before moving to Real Madrid for a then-world record £80m fee in 2009.
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