Back in 2009, no one on planet earth could deny that Cristiano Ronaldo was the finest player on the planet.
While at Manchester United , he became the last player from the Premier League to collect the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in 2008 after scoring 42 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils, winning the Champions League in the process.
In his last season at Old Trafford, rumours of a move to Real Madrid seemed to hamper his form, with Ronaldo scoring 16 less goals.
Eventually, he got his transfer, moving to the Bernabeu for a then world-record fee of £80m and he has gone on to become a true legend in the Spanish capital.
His departure from United was a huge deal, as he was the club’s finest player despite the presence of the likes of Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes.
And, Frank Lampard made a great observation in 2009 when Ronaldo was sold, one which when you look at it now, looks scarily true.
LAMPARD’S GENIUS QUOTE
When asked about how Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were struggling without the mercurial Ronaldo and whether they had anyone who could replace him, Lampard simply said: “Lionel Messi is probably the only player who would do it.”
Lampard was also full of praise for Ronaldo’s six-year spell in England, saying: You’d put on the telly and see that he’d scored and they had won 1-0 or 2-0. And he had his free-kicks, which were very special.”
It was around this time that Messi was making his name as one of the potential world greats at Barcelona, but he was not the all-conquering player we see today.
He had scored in the Champions League final against the Red Devils, but that day, it was Xavi and Andres Iniesta who were getting all the plaudits.
Of course, he would go on to lift the Ballon d’Or shortly after Lampard’s quotes, but it was a very astute prediction from the former Chelsea and England man.
Some would argue that in the last decade, Messi would have been an upgrade for United.
Lampard also argued at the time that Ferguson simply couldn’t look to find a replacement for Ronaldo, something which to this day, United haven’t done.