Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are football's Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Here's why

Messi, Federer, Nadal, RonaldoGetty

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are to soccer what Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are to tennis.

That is according to the Juventus FC and former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The 41-year-old was talking to Football Italia about his idols when he drew the comparison between the rivals.

"Federer is infinite class, while Nadal is perseverance, sweat and also talent, otherwise you cannot win all the Grand Slams he achieved," the veteran shot-stopper said.

"Nadal's hard work and constant desire to improve himself allowed him to be on a par with the most talented tennis player in history.

"The comparison is obvious and makes me smile, as Leo Messi is Federer, while Cristiano Ronaldo is like Nadal."

Read more: Lionel Messi has surpassed Ronaldo as Europe's highest ever scorer and evidence shows Cristiano will struggle to leapfrog the FC Barcelona forward again

Messi and Ronaldo have been soccer's two most heralded stars over the past two decades. Together they have a combined 61 domestic trophies and many individual honours - including five Ballon d'Or's each.

Similarly, Federer and Nadal have dominated the world of tennis during that same period.

Federer, 38, has won 20 Grand Slam titles, whilst Nadal has won 19 - his latest coming when he beat Daniil Medvedev to secure the 2019 US Open title in September.

Buffon has also had a glistening career of his own, having won 24 major honours with Parma, Juventus, and Paris Saint Germain, in a career that has spanned almost 25 years.

Read more:

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2 teenage soccer stars who once played together as children could soon become the sport's biggest rivals since Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

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