Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo believes that winning eight Ballon d’Or awards will finally set him apart from his rival Lionel Messi in the race to be the best in the world.
Speaking in an interview on ITV, Ronaldo, in response to a question on which trophy record he would like to set before he calls time on his career, said he would love to win more Ballon d’Ors.
Currently on five golden balls, the joint-most won by a single player in history, Ronaldo believes that winning the award two or three more times would undoubtedly place him above Messi, who has also won five.
“The most golden balls in the history of football. I will love it and I think I deserve it. Messi is a fantastic guy and a fantastic player, but I think after I have six, or seven, or eight then I’ll be more above him.”
Ronaldo, who spent about nine years in Spain at Real Madrid also described the Barcelona star as the best player he has ever faced.
He added that even though the two were not friends of the pitch, on it, the Argentine always drives him to play much better.
“My relationship with him, we’re not ‘home’ friends but we’ve shared the stage for 15 years. I have a good relationship, and I know that he pushes me to be a better player and I push him as well.”
There have been a number of debates and discussions, particularly on social media, about whether calling Messi and Ronaldo the two best players in history is disrespectful to the talents that have graced the football pitch before them.
Ronaldo, however, is adamant that he deserves to be spoken of as one of the very best to have ever played the game.
When asked where he felt he ranked amongst the great players in the game, Ronaldo insisted he was “number one.”
“I cannot control what the people like, some people like this player or that player. For me, (I am) the number one in history. I know I’m one of the greatest ever in the history of football.”
Ronaldo is one of three players on the final shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, along with Messi and Liverpool defender, Virgil van Dijk.
Ronaldo, who failed to pick up a third straight award last year, had an impressive year with the Italian giants, winning the Serie A title and the Italian Cup, while being named the Player of the season.
He also helped Portugal win the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
Ronaldo and Messi are also expected to be named in the final shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.