Rio de Janeiro: Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Best FIFA footballer of the year award in 2017, despite the fine performances of his rival Lionel Messi, according to Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
"This year I would choose Cristiano Ronaldo to win it," Ronaldo, a three-time recipient of football's highest individual honour, was quoted as saying by Fox Sports on Sunday.
"In the past two years he has been decisive. His statistics can't be ignored," the former FC Barcelona and Real Madrid star striker added.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a four-time winner of the FIFA player of the year award, has scored 40 goals and provided 12 assists in 45 matches for Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season, reports Xinhua news agency.
Meanwhile, Messi -- who has received the honour five times -- has scored 54 goals and provided 19 assists in 52 matches.
Real Madrid won the title of the Spanish La Liga and will play Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday. Barcelona, meanwhile, won the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey.
"I love watching Messi with the ball at his feet," Ronaldo said. "He scores goals and everything else. Both players are fantastic but it's a cruel comparison. Both players deserve respect," he concluded.
Ronaldo also revealed that if it was not for his arguments over his weight with then Real Madrid head coach Fabio Capello, he would have stayed longer than five years at the Spanish capital giants.
"I didn't want to leave. I started to have a lot of problems with Capello. If I was 100 grams overweight, he would take me out of the team," Ronaldo said.
"I am tolerant, I want to understand other points of view. But with him, I just couldn't," the two-time World Cup winner who has scored 83 league goals in 127 games for the Spanish capital giants between 2002 and 2007 before moving to AC Milan, added.
"I understand his position as the manager, but sometimes in football, 100 or 200 grams doesn't make the difference. It's about what you actually do, and he didn't see what I actually did, what I could contribute, as the be all and end all."
Ronaldo, who also played for Inter Milan, captured two Spanish La Liga titles during his time in Madrid before departing midway through the 2006-07 season.