Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva has revealed that he prefers to defend against Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi when comparing the two superstars ahead of his side's Champions League last 16 clash with Real Madrid on February 14.
PSG head into the glamour clash as many people's favourites, having stormed to an 11-point lead in Ligue 1 thanks to the firepower of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. Meanwhile, underperforming Real Madrid sit fourth in La Liga, a huge 19 points behind leaders and rivals Barcelona, following a 2-2 draw with Levante.
Silva, the club captain of PSG, has risked provoking Ballon d'Or holder Ronaldo with his comments ahead of their Champions League encounter by wading into football's eternal debate and suggesting Messi is the harder player to play against.
"The small difference is that Lionel Messi, with the ball one on one, even two, it's difficult to stop him," the Brazilian centre back told Foot Mercato, as quoted by Le10Sport.
"Cristiano Ronaldo, although it's not easy, one player can mark and another double up behind for extra security, because they are players who can do incredible things, like Neymar for example."
However, Silva did concede that Ronaldo has deserved his trophy-laden career and insists he is not out of the Ballon d'Or race for 2018, despite a slow start to the year and the form of his rivals.
"I think it's harder to defend Messi than Ronaldo. I also believe that Cristiano deserved to win everything he has earned in his career," he continued.
"This year it's a bit harder for him, but I think it's not over yet for him. He can still win a Ballon d'Or."
Real host PSG at the Bernabeu on Valentine's Day before travelling to Paris for the return leg on March 6.