Ivan Rakitic feels that while Cristiano Ronaldo is “a great”, Lionel Messi is a truly “unique” talent who stands head and shoulders above every other player in the world, Goal reports.
Ronaldo and Messi have been shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or along with Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Ronaldo has broken a succession of goalscoring records in helping Real Madrid win the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey over the past 12 months, while Neuer won the double with Bayern Munich before playing a key role in his country’s triumph at Brazil 2014.
Rakitic is familiar with the brilliance of both men, having faced Madrid many times in La Liga, as well as playing alongside Neuer during their time together at Schalke.
However, the Croatia international says that he has never seen anything like his current Barcelona team-mate Messi, who he feels is the obvious choice for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
“There is only one player in the world above the rest,” he told reporters after a charity game in Madrid on Tuesday evening. “With all due respect for Neuer, who is my friend, and to Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo is unique and should win every trophy.
“I played with Neuer for three-and-half years at Schalke, while Cristiano is a great, so all three of them deserve the Ballon d’Or.
“But one player is different from the others, and that is Messi. I think every accolade should go to him.”
Messi led Argentina to the final of this year’s World Cup, where they were beaten by Neuer’s Germany, while the diminutive No.10 also became the leading goalscorer in both the Champions League and La Liga during the first half of the 2014-15 season.