After winning his fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, Cristiano Ronaldo has declared himself the “best player in history”.
The Real Madrid star, who also won the best male player prize at the 2017 Best Fifa Football Awards in October, was rewarded for helping his side win the Champions League and La Liga last season.
His fifth Ballon d’Or also sees him move level with the great Lionel Messi.
All this has left Ronaldo feeling supremely confident, judging by his interview with France Football, who organize the Ballon d’Or.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” Ronaldo said. “I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There’s no player more complete than me.
“I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or (Lionel) Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.
“No one has won as many individual trophies as me. And I’m not speaking just of the Ballon d’Or. That says something, doesn’t it? It’s not just a result of the work I do in the gym, like some people think. It’s the sum of many things.
“Legends like Floyd Mayweather and LeBron James don’t get to their perfect level by chance. Many factors coincide. To be at the top and to stay there, you have to have more talent than the others.”
Ronaldo admitted watching Lionel Messi win four consecutive Ballon D’Or awards from 2009 to 2012 left him feeling “sad and angry”, and that going to ceremonies to accept second place never interested him.
“I won the Ballon d’Or before Messi, then he overtook me and won four in a row. I’m not going to hide from you that I was sad and angry,” he said.
“I went to the award ceremonies and I never won. At one point, I was even demotivated. I had no desire to go. To be there for the photo didn’t interest me.
“Then, little by little, thanks to those close to me, I told myself that in life there is a beginning and an end. And in football what counts is the finish, not the start. I was patient. And I won four other Ballon d’Or’s.”
Ronaldo’s manager at Real, Zinedine Zidane, was a pretty great player himself, but there’s no doubt who he thinks the best ever is.
“The stats speak for themselves. He’s the best player in the history of football,” said Zidane, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1998.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is better than me by far, but I’m not bothered because I had a good career.
“He’ll always be up here for me. Many things have been said about him, and what he does out on the field every match is phenomenal.
“The other day I said that a player could come here and stay for 15 or 20 years and he’ll never do what he’s done. He’s made history at the club and will continue to do so and I hope he’ll retire here.”