Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo believes that he deserves to end his career with more Ballon d'Or trophies than Lionel Messi, but added that he might need as many as eight of the awards to stay ahead of the Barcelona star.
The Ballon d'Or is awarded each year to the player deemed to be the best in the world by journalists as well as coaches and captains of national teams. As things stand, Messi and Ronaldo are tied on five each.
Luka Modric brought a 10-year duopoly to an end to lift the 2018 award, the first player since Kaka in 2007 to beat the iconic duo to the top spot after a fine season in which Real Madrid won the Champions League and his national side Croatia reached the World Cup final.
Following Liverpool's European success last campaign, Virgil van Dijk is expected to challenge Messi and Ronaldo this term, but the Portuguese, even at the age of 34, still has a hunger to prove himself as the best in the world.
"Messi is a fantastic guy and a fantastic player," Ronaldo said on ITV during an interview with Piers Morgan. "He's in the history of football, but I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him. I'd love it. I think I deserve it."
Adding on his ongoing rivalry with the mercurial Argentine, Ronaldo said: "My relationship with him is... we're not friends, but we have shared this stage for 15 years. I have a good relationship with him and I know that he has pushed me to be a better player.
"And I have pushed him to be a better player as well."
The debate over who is the best to have ever played the game will rage on for decades to come, with many still citing Pele and Diego Maradona as their first picks, but Ronaldo, who has lifted five Champions League titles in his career, just wants to be considered amongst the greats.
"I'm sure I'm in the history of football for what I have done and what I'm continuing to do, but as one of the best players in history," the Portugal captain said.
"For me, I'm the number one in history. But for some fans, if the number one is another one and I'm second, that doesn't matter. I know I'm in history as one of the greatest ever."
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