Davids: Messi is an anomaly but Ronaldo just an athlete

Edgar Davids has tipped Lionel Messi to win the 2015 Ballon d'Or and derided his main challenger Cristiano Ronaldo.

Former Barcelona midfielder Edgar Davids has described Lionel Messi as "an anomaly" and Cristiano Ronaldo as "just an athlete" after tipping the Argentina star to land the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Davids, speaking to FIFA.com after Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar were named as the final three nominees on Monday, believes Messi has a God-given talent which sets him apart from the others.

The Dutchman said: "Messi is just an anomaly, he can dribble, he can score, he can pass, he has the vision, he understands the game…

"Ronaldo is just an athlete. He works so hard and back to back, he is always there.

"But if you work hard can you be like Messi? No, that's impossible.

"Can you be like Ronaldo? Yes, to a certain extent."

Asked if Neymar was ready to replace Messi and Ronaldo – the pair have shared the last seven Ballons d'Or – at the pinnacle of world football, Davids added: "No, he is not ready, [but] he is almost there."