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Messi-Ronaldo: Simeone explains World Cup WhatsApp message

Diego Simeone has sought to clear up his leaked comments about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during the World Cup.
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Messi-Ronaldo: Simeone explains World Cup WhatsApp message

Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone has sought to clarify his comments about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during the World Cup last month, saying he would "without a doubt" choose his countryman over the ex-Real Madrid striker.

In a leaked WhatsApp to Atlético assistant Germán Burgos after Messi's poor display in Argentina's 3-0 defeat to Croatia, Simeone appeared to praise Portugal's Ronaldo - who had just scored a hat-trick against Spain and the winner against Morocco - at the Barcelona forward's expense.

"Messi is very good, but..."

"Messi is very good, but he's very good because he's accompanied by fantastic players [at Barça]," Simeone told Burgos in the audio message. "If you had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo for an average team, who would you go for?"

Messi trudges off in Nizhny Novgorod after Argentina's 3-0 World Cup defeat to Croatia.

"I'd always choose Messi, without a doubt"

However, speaking ahead of Atlético's International Champions Cup pre-season clash against Paris Saint-Germain in Singapore on Monday, Simeone declared: "I'd always choose Messi [over Ronaldo], without a doubt.

"When I said what I did about Messi and Ronaldo, I wasn't talking about who is the best player in the world. I was saying that in a team of average players, Ronaldo would probably be a better fit.

"But, when surrounded by top players, Messi is the best in the world."