Messi 8

Former Barcelona midfielder Rivaldo believes Lionel Messi is the best player in the world but has praised Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of this weekend's El Clasico clash.

The two powers of Spanish football will lock horns on Saturday afternoon in another chapter of one of the world's most iconic sporting rivalries, with Barca playing catch up in the overall head-to-head rankings.

Real have come out on top in 72 of their 174 La Liga meetings with Barca and have a greater trophy collection than the Catalan outfit, though trail Ernesto Valverde's side in the table this term.

The tie will also see Messi and Ronaldo square up once again in what has now become a story within the tale of the Clasico.

Questioned on the pair - arguably the two finest players to have ever played the game - Rivaldo, who won two Liga titles whilst playing for Barca, admits that one is a cut above the other.

"I would like to play with Messi, it would be amazing. He is the best of the world, the one who makes more differences," Rivaldo told Betfair.

"Ronaldo? He is the most dangerous player at Real.

"It is hard to stop him, like Messi, because both score a lot of goals and you never know what is going to be the next thing they will invent for scoring."

Ronaldo collected his fifth Ballon d'Or trophy earlier this month, equalling a record previously set by Messi.

The rivalry has been a common sub-plot in previous Clasico derbies and a number of bodies associated with Barcelona have publically backed Messi as the best in the world following Ronaldo winning the award.

And while Rivaldo recognises the Portugal international's success, he believes that he may not have won the award if he was playing during the time of the Brazilian's peak.

"If Ronaldo won is because he deserved it," Rivaldo added. "In my time there were more players than today challenging for being the best in the world.

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