Cristiano Ronaldo: Lionel Messi “a great player”

Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo believes he could have gathered the honour more times than Lionel Messi if they had played on the same team, but described his rival as “a great player.”

Portugal captain Ronaldo polled a massive 745 points – over 400 more than Messi – in this year’s poll, which canvassed a handpicked panel of 173 journalists worldwide.

The Madeira native helped Real Madrid win last season’s Champions League, and scored three goals as his country won Euro 2016 for the first time. He has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with Messi the only other recipient of the award since winning it for the first time in 2009.

Messi, 29, came second to Ronaldo, 31, in the 2016 vote, but has five Ballons d’Or to the Real Madrid man’s four.

On whether he would have claimed the award more times had they played on the same side, Ronaldo said: “It’s a difficult question. I don’t know.”

“It would be interesting to see both of us in the same team. I think great players should play together. So if we were in the same team, I think I would have more than him, but he wouldn’t be far off.”

“Everyone knows Messi is a great player. He’s won five Ballons d’Or.”

Ronaldo also said that he was hopeful he would draw level with the Argentine star’s tally in 2017, saying: “I’m going to try. I’ll be in the fight, as always, but my objective now is to win the Club World Cup, an important trophy.”

“After that, to win La Liga. It’s a title that Real wants to win. And if possible, the Champions League again and the Copa del Rey. I always want to win everything.”

After winning another individual honour, the 31-year-old turns his attention back to club football, hoping to help Real Madrid to the Club World Cup in Japan as he aims to add more achievements to his already impressive trophy cupboard.

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