‘Ronaldo has a greater career than Messi as he is the most complete player’

The cricketing megastar Virat Kohli reveals he’s in awe of and inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo

The 30-year-old placed seventh on ESPN’s World Fame 100 this year, ahead of Rafa Nadal (eighth), Tiger Woods (tenth) and Lewis Hamilton (21st), while he boasts 107 million followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – over double Paul Pogba and more than any other non-footballing sportsperson aside from Lebron James (117 million).

And as his followers know, Kohli is a big football fan. He took time out ahead of India’s tour of the USA and the Caribbean to discuss, among other topics, his FIFA World Cup™ memories, reveal who he thinks is the best player on the planet, and analyse his own footballing ability.

Which players have you most enjoyed watching over the years?
Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Oliver Kahn, Luka Modric, [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi, [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For me, Cristiano is above everyone else. His commitment and work ethic is unmatched. He wants it that bad – you can see it every game.

Who do you think has had the greater career: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?
Ronaldo. In my opinion he has taken on more challenges and succeeded at all of them. He’s the most complete player I have seen and his work ethic, as I mentioned, is unmatched. He inspires people. I don’t think many people do that. He’s also a leader and I love that. Absolutely love it. He has amazing belief too.

Ronaldo and Messi are 34 and 32 respectively. Who do you see taking over as the best player on the planet: De Bruyne, Hazard, Mbappe, Neymar, Pogba, Salah, someone else?
Mbappe stands out for me. His sprint in the 2018 World Cup against Argentina is hard to forget. He’s a beast and he will definitely be at the top of the pile for me. Absolutely top-class player.