Messi was unable to salvage Barcelona’s Champions League hopes on Tuesday night as they were thrashed 3-0 by Roma, while Ronaldo’s last-minute penalty against Juventus fired Real Madrid into the semi-finals.
Using this as a prime example, former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder Hleb claimed Ronaldo is a more dominant figure for Real than Messi is at Barca.
‘Of course Messi is the best in the world,’ the 36-year-old told Sport Express, ‘He is the leader of Barcelona.
‘He has the mission to help the team in difficult times and he couldn’t create even one goal. He was impotent.
‘With all respect to Leo, Ronaldo is a better leader of his team than Messi.’
Hleb spent three seasons at Barcelona, a period he was loaned out on numerous occasions, and watched on in disbelief as his former side were dumped out of Europe in spectacular fashion.
Messi and his Barca teammates were silenced in Rome when Kostas Manolas netted a crucial goal to send Roma through to the last four.
It saw Barca endure an extremely rare goalless outing and squander a comfortable three-goal advantage after their 4-1 win in the first leg at the Nou Camp the week previous.
It was almost a very similar story for Real too, as they went 3-0 down to Juve – leveling their respective tie at 3-3 – but what was considered a controversial penalty handed Ronaldo the chance to be a hero yet again.
Naturally, he smashed in the winning goal, which saw him take his European goal tally for the season to 15, just two short of the record 17 goals he set himself in 2013-14.
Hleb claimed, however, that Ronaldo is a better leader for Real than Messi is for Barcelona