Messi best player of all time – Rakitic
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic paid tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo, but said there was "only one number one" – Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo joined Messi on five Ballons d'Or after claiming the individual honour on Thursday.
However, Rakitic has no doubt about who is better, saying it was unfortunate Ronaldo had played in the same era as Messi, the best in history.
"You already know my opinion and I have a lot of respect for Cristiano, who is one of the best in history," the Croatia international said, via Mundo Deportivo, after a 2-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday.
"But he has played with the best player in history, which is Leo Messi. There is only one number one, Messi.
"Those who come behind are unlucky enough to have coincided with him."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 10, 2017
Goals from Luis Suarez and Messi saw Barca past Villarreal as they made it 12 wins in 15 league games this season, retaining a five-point advantage at the top.
Rakitic was full of praise for another of his team-mates – goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
"We are not surprised by the good performances of Ter Stegen," he said.
"He's one of the best goalkeepers in the world and has been playing at a good level."