Is Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi the world's greatest player? David Beckham casts his vote

The former Real Madrid star says both are 'head and shoulders' above the rest

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David Beckham has cast his vote in the great debate over who is the better player out of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - and he has chosen the Argentine genius.

Beckham, the former Real Madrid, Manchester United and England midfielder, believes both players are "head and shoulders" above anyone else in world football, but Barcelona forward Messi edges it as the No 1 ahead of his Juventus rival.

Speaking to Argentine broadcaster Télam, Beckham, who faced Messi in the Champions League during his spell at PSG, said: "Messi is unique as a player and there isn't anybody else like him.

"Both he and Cristiano, who is not at the same level as Messi, are head and shoulders above the rest."

Recalling his encounter with Messi in 2013, a month before his 38th birthday, Beckham said: "We were ahead and he came on and Barcelona scored.

"Despite my age, I enjoyed playing and the team played well in both legs. We did things that we can be proud of. They didn't beat us."

Both legs ended in a draw, 2-2 in the Parc des Princes and 1-1 at Camp Nou, with Barca progressing on away goals.

Beckham, meanwhile, along with Harry Kane and Harry Maguire, is part of a FIFA campaign showing appreciation for healthcare workers and other professionals around the world leading the fight against coronavirus.

In an initiative titled #WeWillWin, FIFA has gathered 50 of the biggest past and present footballers to applaud the efforts of those risking their lives in the face of the pandemic.

Former England captain Beckham said: "As footballers, we are used to receiving applause, but this time, we have the opportunity to show our appreciation for the many people who are risking their lives to protect ours.

"You are humanity's heroes and we want to show that all of football supports you and everything that you do to defend all of us."

Diego Maradona, Michael Owen, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo are others backing FIFA's measure.

Carli Lloyd, co-captain of the United States women's team, added: "To recognise the risks that doctors, nurses and other essential workers are having to take on a daily basis, football wants to show its support.

"They are on the front line of the coronavirus battle, working as a team to defend us, to protect us and to keep us healthy.

"It is thanks to their dedication and professionalism, supported by everyone else's absolute commitment to following the rules of each national health authority, that we will win."