Fabio Capello acknowledged the two as the best players in the world but notes that each has his own style, according to Sport 360.
"Their styles are different, but they have a lot in common — they're both trying to be the best, trying to score goals and help their team win," Capello said. "This is really important.
"I think there is more imagination from Messi, his passing and assists are great, but Ronaldo is stronger and faster, and his ability to shoot from long distances is better. He is a really strong guy.
"I think Cristiano Ronaldo plays more to score goals and for himself, and he does it really well. Messi, too, scores a lot, but he plays for the team."
Messi and Ronaldo are locked in a number of races for individual and team honors. Both have already passed the mythical 40-goal mark in league play. With four games remaining, Ronaldo leads Messi 42-41. The race for the Pichichi (top goal scorer in La Liga) will probably go down to the last kick of the season.
But Messi's edge in assists is one factor driving Capello's analysis. Messi has 18 to Ronaldo's 12 in league play.
Although the La Liga championship appears to be settled (in Ronaldo's favor), both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona remain alive in the UEFA Champions League. The eternal rivals could meet in next month's final if they manage to overturn first-leg deficits.
Fans around the world are anticipating a matchup between the Spanish giants, but the comparisons between the two superstars are only beginning. Capello's input is valuable as he is one of the world's most respected coaches.
Capello counts AC Milan, Real Madrid and England's national team among his former employers. The 65-year-old is out of work, but his name will be linked to job openings at major clubs around the globe in the coming months.