Brazilian footballing great Ronaldo has says he will give the FIFA Ballon d’Or award to Lionel Messi ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Evening Standard reports.
Showing no bias to the man who shares his name, the 37-year-old Brazilian, who won the title twice himself in 1997 and 2003, said, “I’d go for Messi due to technical considerations… I’d have to see what the criteria is for deciding who the winner should be, but I think that it has been a great year for him.”
Messi’s Barcelona comfortably beat Ronaldo’s Real Madrid to the 2012-2013 Spanish league title, winning by an impressive 15-point margin while Messi outscored Ronaldo 46 to 34 league goals.
However Ronaldo’s form in the second half of 2013 has led many to suggest he deserves the award.
Not only has he scored 27 goals in 21 appearances for his club, but almost single-handedly earned Portugal a place at next year’s World Cup.
With his side in trouble, the Portugal captain scored a stunning hat-trick in the second leg of the play-offs to propel the Portuguese past Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s Sweden.
And the Brazilian added, “I believe that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world.”
The winner of the Ballon d’Or will be revealed on January 13. Bayern Munich’s Frank Ribery joins Messi and Ronaldo in the final three.
Maeanwhile, the former Barcelona and Real Madrid Ronaldo striker has claimed that Neymar will “go down in history” as one of the best Brazilian players ever.
The 21-year-old has shone in 2013 – after signing for the Catalans from Santos in the early summer, he starred as the Selecao stormed to the Confederations Cup title and has subsequently starred for Gerardo Martino’s men this season.
“It is a fact that Neymar will be a great player,” Ronaldo told Brazilian television. “He will go down in history as one of the best Brazilian players in the world.
“He’s on the right track. He’s a charismatic player and is focused on what you have to do to succeed.”
The Blaugrana are in the midst of a winter break but they are back in action against second-placed Atletico Madrid, who are level on points with the club.