Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said he doesn’t think footballers should be compared to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The duo are regarded as the finest players of the modern era and have each set extraordinary standards in front of goal.

Speaking to Icon (h/t Josh Challies of the Manchester Evening News), Pogba said Messi and Ronaldo have hit heights that make some players considered to be legends of the game look average:

“Messi and Ronaldo have shown in recent years: doing what they did, maintaining those stats – that is the exception, not the norm.

“If an attacker today scores ten or 15 goals, he is likely to be told that it is not enough. But the player’s work must be judged with perspective. 

“You have to remember that someone like Pavel Nedved won the Ballon d’Or without his team winning the Champions League or without having scored much himself. He was simply the best in his role and was rewarded for what he was capable of doing on the field.”

Pogba said he grew up watching players like Alessandro Del Piero, Luis Figo and Francesco Totti, and noted that a lot of those players were not prolific goalscorers, albeit “champions.” The United man also said that “the statistics, the numbers, often seem to have become the only parameter of judgment.”

In an era when Messi and Ronaldo have taken productivity to new heights, it’s not a shock to see more focus on numbers in the modern game. Per BT Sport Football, the two appear to be galvanised by each other’s prolific play.