Top English Premier League TV pundit and journalist Andy Gray has sensationally remarked that Barcelona’s World Player of the Year Lionel Messi would struggle to cope with the rigours of the English Premier League, and believes he could not cut it away at Stoke City.
The Sky Sports host, who enjoyed spells with Aston Villa and Everton during his playing career, was discussing the 2010 Ballon d’Or nominees during Monday evening’s broadcast of Manchester City versus Everton.
When asked by co-presenter Richard Keys whether he felt Messi and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo would be capable of scoring so prolifically in England, Gray stated his belief that the Argentine would "struggle in a cold night at the Britiannia Stadium", referring to the home of top-flight side Stoke City. He added that "Barcelona would struggle in the EPL as they've never played the likes of Stoke."
The 55-year-old also claimed that La Liga, when compared to its English equivalent, did not have the same depth of quality, hinting that Ronaldo and Messi would labour to score as consistently, despite the former scoring 31 goals in 34 matches for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season.
Furthermore, on Ronaldo, Gray criticised the decision to omit the Portuguese from the final of the Ballon d’Or, but added that he "would not be the player that he is today had he not played in English football".
Gray's remarks have caused quite a stir around the world, and the SKY pundit has been heavily criticised on social networking sites such as facebook and twitter.