'Harder to be the best in my day'
Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario gave his thoughts on the battle for supremacy between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming that it was much harder to be recognised as the best player in the world during his playing days.
"In my generation, the competition was much bigger than it is now, without wanting to belittle Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," he said in an interview with Sport Bild. "They will fight for the title of the best player in the world in the coming years, but in my time we had [Zinedine] Zidane, Rivaldo, [Luis] Figo, me, and then Ronaldinho.
"That was a generation in which being the best was much more difficult."
The former Madrid man also drew comparisons between his transfer from Barcelona to Inter Milan and countryman Neymar's world-record move from the Nou Camp to Paris Saint-Germain.
"I do not know what went behind his transfer, maybe there was a problem with the presidency of Barcelona, like what happened with me," Ronaldo stated. "Neymar's departure from Barcelona has many parallels with what happened in 1997. I went to Inter when the Italian league was much stronger than the French league today."
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, the man who led Brazil to glory in 2002 picked his country as one the favourites, backing coach Tite's ability to turn around the fortunes of one of football's most decorated national sides.
"Brazil is strong again. Since Tite there is a certain pattern of play to which the team holds. As a TV commentator, I am a member of almost all internationals and see a development. A compact team, a unit with will, motivation that plays fast.
"The Selecao has regained respect and is playing great football again. Germany is the number 1 Fifa world ranking and therefore automatically top favorites. Behind it come Spain and Brazil."
Speaking of Die Mannschaft, the 41-year-old said that neither he nor his nation were angry at that unforgettable 7-1 defeat in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"No one is angry because of this game because the friendliness with which Germany showed here in the country was something wonderful. Especially because the Germans before were emotionally cold. But here they showed a warmth. It was a pleasure to have Germany here."