If you’re a football fan and watched the beautiful game in the 2000's, the 2010, and the 2020’s there is a very high chance you’ve been involved in a debate about whom is the GOAT? The ever so frequent argument about whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is the Greatest Of All Time. This isn’t a blog about that (although I have my own view on it) but who better to actually contribute to that argument than players who’ve played with them both?

A non-exhaustive list of players to have been a teammate of both Messi and Ronaldo makes quite impressive reading;

  • Henrik Larsson (Manchester United & Barcelona)
  • Deco (Portugal National Team (NT) & Barcelona)
  • Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid & Paris Saint-Germain & NT)
  • Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid/Juventus & Argentina NT)
  • Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Paulo Dybala (Juventus & Argentina NT)
  • Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United & Argentina NT)
  • Andre Gomes (Portugal NT & Barcelona)
  • Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid & Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Carlos Tevez (Manchester United & Argentina NT)

There are 2 players however that may be a little more qualified than the above to make a judgement call.

Martin Caceres and Gerald Pique have not only been teammates of both players but the pair of defenders have also come up against them as attacking opponents.

Uruguayan Caceres spent time at Barcelona and Juventus as teammates of the iconic duo and also faced the players during his time at Sevilla and Lazio. I decided against looking to see if his time at Southampton yielded any results playing against the Portuguese and Argentinian greats.

Then there is Gerard Pique. Although his views on who is the best may be somewhat biased.

Pique played with Ronaldo at Manchester United before moving to Barcelona in 2008 to become teammates with Messi.

That meant when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid a year later in 2009, El Clasico saw many an opportunity for Pique to face ‘Big Ron.’

And it was during his loan spell to Real Zaragoza for a season whilst on United’s books that Pique had to pit his wits against Messi.

When I say he may be biased it’s because the 29 major trophies Pique won whilst at Barcelona, Messi won the exact same 29! 8 of those were La Liga titles.

Don’t get me wrong, there were others that contributed to the Catalan club's success, as well as Pique, but the wee Argentinian genius helped out a fair bit!

Clearly, his success was down to more than just Messi! To aid that argument Pique can also point to a World Cup winners medal and a European Championship winners medal, won with Spain (2010 & 2012) as well as another Champions League success, with the latter being won with Manchester United in 2008. Credit to Ronaldo also - The Portuguese then wide man, was involved in all 4 trophies that Pique won, whilst at Manchester United.

Pique followed up that victory in Moscow with a Champions League win in his first season with Barca. That makes Pique one of only 4 players to win consecutive Champions League campaigns with different clubs. The others if you were wondering were Marcel Desailly (the first to do it with Marseille & AC Milan), Paulo Sousa (Juventus & Borussia Dortmund), and Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona & Inter Milan).

If you break down Pique's achievements and honours whilst at Barcelona and what it cost to get him there, you have to be looking at one of the best value-for-money signings, perhaps of all time. Let me try to put it into perspective with some comparisons.

A selection of Summer 2008 defensive transfers.

Tal Ben Haim: £5 million Chelsea to Man City. Played 9 league games

Curtis Davies: £8 million WBA to Aston Villa. Played 37 league games

Carlos Cuellar: £7.8 million Rangers to Aston Villa. Played 94 League games

Ezequiel Garay: €10 million Racing Santander to Real Madrid. Played 25 league games

John Heitinga: £8.8 million Ajax to Atletico Madrid. Played 28 league games.

The aforementioned Martin Caraces also moved in the summer of 2008: €16.5 million from Villarreal to Barcelona. Played 13 league games

Pique was a €5 million transfer from Manchester United to Barcelona. He went on to make 397 league appearances. He totalled 616 appearances across all competitions. That puts him 5th on the club’s all-time appearance list. I’m not sure there are many in the category to have cost so little and contributed so much. Perhaps another 2008 defensive transfer, that of Vincent Kompany to Manchester City for £6 million could rival it?

Pique’s international career saw him feature for Spain on 102 occasions and on many of those he partnered Carles Puyol in central defence. Puyol was also his partner at club level for Barcelona, the pair complimenting each other so well. Puyol took on the role of the rugged and tough, fearsome central back, and Pique the more ‘intelligent’ and graceful offering.

Perhaps their greatest achievement together with ‘La Rioja’ was the 2010 World Cup success, where Spain, defensively marshalled by the Barca duo, only conceded two goals throughout the entire tournament – none of which came in the knock-out stages. The tournament saw Spain also keeping five clean sheets, a record for a World Cup–winning team (shared with the 2006 Italy side and 1998's France)

The Retro Football Shirts Pique offering is the 2013/14 Barcelona away shirt. Fitting it has Pique on the back of the Catalan colour-themed Nike shirt as he was never one to shy away from his views on the desired pro-independence movement of the region. This shirt is brand new with tags on and like Pique himself, it’s an absolute bargain!

Would love to read in the comments who you think is the best value for money transfer based on success.

Blog by Stan Stanger, avid football fan and football shirt collector.  Follow me on Twitter @10Stan1981 and visit my website at 



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