Luis Suarez does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo’s trophy winning exploits with Real Madrid and Portugal should result in him taking the Ballon d’Or off Lionel Messi.
Barcelona talisman Messi regained football’s major individual honour last year, leaving the career Ballon d’Or count against Ronaldo at 5-3 in his favour.
Messi scored 41 goals and provided 26 assists in all competitions as Barca retained LaLiga and the Copa del Rey last season, but Ronaldo netted the winning penalty as Madrid pipped rivals Atletico Madrid to Champions League glory, before helping Portugal to a surprise Euro 2016 triumph.
Those successes have established the former Manchester United forward as a strong favourite for this 2016 award, and Barcelona star Neymar said last week that he expects Ronaldo to triumph
But Suarez is in no doubt that his team-mate Messi remains the pre-eminent performer in world football.
“It is true that [Ronaldo] won those trophies but for me there is no question that Leo is the best player in the world,” he said.
“Whether or not he wins that prize he is the best player by far. He has more of an effect on the game that anyone one else.
“He couldn’t win a title [the Copa America] with Argentina but he has won so many titles with Barcelona and I think that he deserves the Ballon d’Or.”
As Messi recuperates following Argentina’s Copa America Centenario disappointment – he missed a penalty in the shoot-out final defeat to Chile – and Neymar prepares for Brazil’s Olympic campaign, Suarez is the only member of Barcelona’s famous front trio in pre-season training with Luis Enrique’s squad at present.
Nevertheless, the ex-Liverpool favourite is unconcerned over this disruption and is aiming high once more for the forthcoming season.
“I’m training with some other team-mates and guys from Barca B that I didn’t know as well,” he added.
“We are preparing ourselves physically and getting ready for the season.
“I talk to Luis Enrique about the normal things that we talk about in pre-season, getting ready to try and achieve our objectives for this season.
“At Barcelona we are going to try as always to make history and win as much as possible.”