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Xavi: I never said Ronaldo was not intelligent

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has denied that he said Cristiano Ronaldo is inferior to Lionel Messi because of his lack of intelligence.

Xavi recently gave an interview to The New Arab where he discussed the differences between Real Madrid star Ronaldo and his Barcelona counterpart, allegedly suggesting Messi was the better of the two because Ronaldo was not as intelligent.

However, Xavi is adamant his comments were not translated correctly and has clarified that he rates Messi over Ronaldo because of the way the Argentina international links up with his team-mates.

"The translation of what I said was erroneous," Xavi told Movistar+.

"I said that there are two types of speed in football. There is the physical side, and in this aspect Messi and Cristiano are at the same level.

"And then there is the speed at which you are able to connect with your team-mates, and in this aspect Messi is of the highest level, whereas Cristiano is not.

"Cristiano does not seem like a player who excels at linking up with his team-mates. He is not a passer of the ball and that is why Messi is the best in the world for me. He has both kinds of speed, both the physical one and the one that allows him to link up with his team-mates.

"I never talked about intelligence and I never said Cristiano lacks intelligence."