Lothar Matthaus slams Cristiano Ronaldo, accuses Portugal star of damaging team with ‘ego’

Former Germany international Lothar Matthaus has given his candid opinion on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The showpiece event in Qatar was billed as potentially the last time fans will get to see the two titans of football in the competition.

Ronaldo (37) came into the tournament after a controversial exit at Manchester United. He virtually forced the club into letting him leave after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

After scoring in his team’s opening 3-2 win against Ghana, Portugal’s No. 7 oddly made it a big deal by demanding credit for Bruno Fernandes’ first goal against Uruguay.

The next game saw the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward make a ‘shushing’ gesture towards a South Korean player while leaving the pitch.

Fernando Santos, who has since vacated his position as the nation’s head coach, publicly called him out for it. While he did not start any games for his country after that, he did come off the bench against Switzerland and Morocco.


Matthaus, who won the FIFA World Cup with West Germany in 1990, pitied Ronaldo’s situation and stated that the star has damaged his legacy.

“With his ego trips, Ronaldo has damaged the team and himself. There is no doubt that he was a great player and an absolutely lethal finisher. But now he has damaged his legacy. I find it hard to think that he can find a place in a team. I kind of feel sorry for Ronaldo,” Matthaus told BILD (h/t GOAL).

Lothar Matthaus showers Lionel Messi with praise at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo

Lothar Matthaus followed up his comments on Cristiano Ronaldo by drawing comparisons with Lionel Messi.

The Argentina icon finished the tournament with seven goals, three assists and the Golden Ball, which helped his team clinch the FIFA World Cup trophy. Commenting on the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) playmaker’s brilliance, Matthaus said:

“Ronaldo is of course a big failure of the World Cup, the opposite of Messi, [who is] the absolute winner. He deserves it because he has given me and all football fans great joy with his qualities and the way he plays over 17-18 years. For me, Messi is the player of the millennium.”

It is unlikely that fans will get to see the two play in the same quadrennial competition once again. While the Portuguese striker will remain motivated to win the trophy in 2026, he does not have age on his side.

As for Messi (35), the World Cup title is finally in his trophy cabinet and it remains to be seen if he will attempt to win it again in 2026 when he will be 39 years old.

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