Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has branded himself the greatest player in the history of the game.
He picked up his fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, equalling the record of his great rival Lionel Messi.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” he told France Football, the magazine that organises the award.
“I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can.There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.
Ronaldo admitted that at one stage of his career he was “demotivated” and did not even want to go to the ceremonies when Messi was getting the better of him on an annual basis.
“I won the Ballon d’Or before Messi, then he overtook me and won four in a row,” he said. “I’m not going to hide from you that I was sad and angry. I went to the award ceremonies and I never won. At one point, I was even demotivated. I had no desire to go. To be there for the photo didn’t interest me.
“Then, little by little, thanks to those close to me, I told myself that in life there is a beginning and an end. And in football what counts is the finish, not the start. I was patient. And I won four other Ballons d’Or.”
When asked if he agreed, Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane said: “Yes. I think he’s the best player in the world. It’s easy to praise Ronaldo, though there’s little more that can be said.
“You can see what he contributes to game every time he pays – he’s phenomenal.
“Just the other day I was chatting with a few people and said that a player who plays 15 years here will not achieve what Ronaldo has.
“He’s made history here and will hopefully stay until he decides to hang up his boots.”