Johan Cruyff says Cristiano Ronaldo cannot shape a team as Lionel Messi does and has backed the Barcelona star for the Ballon d'Or.
Johan Cruyff says Lionel Messi remains superior to Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming the Real Madrid star is simply a goalscorer.
Ronaldo has scored 10 times in just nine appearances so far this season for Madrid, while Messi managed a comparatively low six goals and three assists in 10 appearances prior to the knee injury he suffered against Las Palmas.
Barcelona icon Cruyff, however, has insisted there remains "a huge difference" between Ronaldo and a forward in the vein of Messi, who can operate as a playmaker.
"I've always liked smaller, more technically gifted players because I was one," he explained at the Aspire4Sport Congress in Berlin.
"Cristiano is a great player but he's a goalscorer. He'll never be that creative player you build a team around, the one in charge of how a team plays. His job is the end product, the goal.
"On the other hand, Messi is much more of a team player: he passes the ball, notches up no end of assists ... In my opinion, there is a huge difference between a great player and a goalscorer."
Messi is the favourite to lift the Ballon d'Or in January after losing out to Ronaldo for the past two years, and Cruyff has no doubt that the Argentina star deserves the accolade.
"There's no discussion, nobody is on the same level as Messi. I'd give it to him again," he added.