Nope, it’s not a sudden dose of modesty for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead it’s his ever-expanding Brazilian namesake who has bestowed the honour upon Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

In an interview with CNN World Sport, the two-time World Cup winner – who played for both Real and Barca – overlooked national rivalries to say he thought Messi was the better player.

Ronaldo said: “Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo without a doubt are the best players today. I give a preference to Messi, because he’s a player who fascinates us more, who shows more creativity. Even though he’s from Argentina, which has a big rivalry with Brazil! But he’s a player I admire a lot.

“In fact, both of them. But I think Messi is a little above Cristiano Ronaldo.”

In case you were wondering, he was handed a safe Brazilian option of Neymar but turned it down.

He said: “I think Neymar still has a phase to complete. To play in Europe and triumph playing in Europe.”

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