Declan Rice has seen a move to Manchester United speculated on, which could allow him to work alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, and the West Ham midfielder says the Portuguese superstar is the player he would turn to for inspiration on “big occasions”.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has proven himself to be the most reliable of options for United, Real Madrid and Juventus, with a remarkable goalscoring record seeing him break countless records down the years.
Rice is a big fan and admits that a man still going strong with the Red Devils at 36 years of age would be his selection to step up and take a nerve-shredding penalty that had plenty riding on it.
England international Rice told Gary Neville on ‘The Overlap’ when asked who he would pick to stand over a decisive spot-kick: “Going to have to say Ronaldo – 100 per cent Ronaldo.
“The penalties he’s scored in big moments, Champions League finals, tournaments. I’d 100% put my money on CR7 for the big occasions.”
What about Messi?
Ronaldo’s penalty record is more than useful having converted 143 efforts from 12 yards in his career to date, while missing only 28.
His eternal rival Lionel Messi has failed with 29 of the spot-kicks he has taken, while scoring with 103 for club and country, and the mercurial Argentine is another player that Rice holds in the highest regard.
In fact, the Hammers skipper considers the South American icon to be the finest talent to have ever played the game, with that statement difficult to argue against given all that a man with seven Ballon d’Or awards to his name has achieved.
Rice said when asked for his take on the Ronaldo vs Messi debate: “You know what, it is such a hard question because obviously what him and Cristiano Ronaldo have done is a freak of nature, nobody will ever do that ever again.
“Messi, I just feel what he does with a football, he is just special, and I don’t think we will ever see a player like that ever again.”
Rice will be hoping to grace the same Champions League stage as Messi and Ronaldo at some point in the near future, with there plenty of speculation to be found regarding his future.
West Ham remain in the hunt for a top-four finish this season, but the talented 23-year-old continues to see moves to a Premier League rival mooted – with United and Chelsea said to be keeping a close eye on his situation.