Frank Lampard has named Barcelona legends Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi as the two best players he ever came up against.
That’s despite Lampard’s side coming up against a Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final.
The pair both scored for their sides during the rain-soaked affair in Moscow, where John Terry’s slip spared Ronaldo’s blushes after a miss in the penalty shoot-out.
But Lampard believes his peak only came once he had departed Old Trafford for the first time, when he joined Real Madrid in 2009.
Meaning that when it comes to the best of the very best he encountered, Barca’s South American duo came out on top.
“There’s two I would say – one is Lionel Messi, because he’s just the best,” Lampard told Coral’s All to Play For Podcast. “And I feel bad with Cristiano, because what Cristiano has done in big games, winning finals and stuff, I think that’s such a tight call.
“But to play against him [Messi], I didn’t play Ronaldo at his peak. Played him at Man United when he was getting towards it, but not at Real Madrid, where he was just ridiculous.”
“I didn’t really come up against him then, but I feel like I did with Messi and I never got near him and he was just amazing.
“And the other one is Ronaldinho, because in 2005, we went to the Nou Camp, it was my first encounter with a player on a different planet.
“Him and [Samuel] Eto’o on that day, but particularly Ronaldinho’s movements. I was like ‘wow this is different’.”
When it came to the best players he played alongside, Lampard was again torn between two – but on this occasion they were both former Chelsea team-mates.
“I’ve got to say John [Terry] and Didier [Drogba],” he continued. “I can’t separate them because they had so much impact on us as a team.
“John as a captain…I don’t think he was underrated, but there were elements to his game maybe that were, because he was brilliant at everything.
“And then Didier, because he always turned up in big games, always in pivotal games. Scored amazing goals, influence people around him and had everything as a striker.
“If you drew a striker, you’d draw Didier; six foot, strong, can touch, can shoot, head it.”