Casillas

Casillas: "Messi was born with the talent, Cristiano worked to be the best"

Legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo's success in reaching global heights has come down to work ethic and desire to be the best compared to Lionel Messi's natural born talent.

Casillas: "Messi was born with the talent, Cristiano worked to be the best"
JOSEP LAGO AFP

Speaking in an interview with ESPN, legendary Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas discussed various subjects in a fascinating chat with Martín Ainstein, including his heart attack in 2019 and the differences between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Casillas retired earlier this year after a hugely successful career with Real Madrid, Spain and later on with Portuguese giants, Porto. It was at Madrid where he got a real insight into the life and mindset of teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The debate, which has been contested in every city across the world pits Lionel Messi against Ronaldo, and Casillas has his own opinion on who is the real star.

"Cristiano always had huge desire to be the best, every since he was a boy and I believe he has achieved that. If I have to compare him to Messi, what Cristiano has done is more impressive because we all know the talent Messi has, but Cristiano was determined and worked hard to be the best. I feel we have been lucky to have been able to enjoy two phenomenal players. For people that don't know Cristiano, he can appear to be cocky and arrogant, but it's totally the opposite."

FBL-EUR-C1-REALMADRID-ATLETICOReal Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (2nd L) repels the ball next to teammates Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Pepe (C), Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos (3rd L) and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (5th L)during the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

After suffering a heart attack in May 2019, the player capped 167 times for Spain went on to discuss a truly traumatic experience at the age of 37. The Spaniard was admitted to Porto's CUF hospital after having “an acute myocardial infarction” during a morning training session in Portugal.

"I was very fortunate with how things turned out, sadly it's not the case for everyone. It has changed me, you must do the things you like doing and live your life. I have spoken to people that I had not spoken to for a long time. I now live day to day, focus on what I can do today and not worry about tomorrow or next week."

Cristiano heart surgery

Cristiano Ronaldo underwent heart surgery when he was 15 years old. His mother Dolores Aveiro recalled in her book "Mother Courage" how doctors told her that her son might never play football again. In the Portuguese player's case, the problem was an irregular heartbeat.