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'Ronaldo is the best player in history, and you know it!' - Mendes

By Vincent Ashitey
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has insisted that the Juventus forward should still be recognized as “the best player in history”, despite his Ballon d’Or defeat.

Ronaldo came third in this year's Ballon d'Or voting, finishing behind Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk for the award.

Messi claimed the honour on the heels of a La Liga-winning campaign, as the Argentine took home the prize for a record sixth time.

Van Dijk, meanwhile, finished ahead of Ronaldo due to his contributions to Liverpool's Champions League-winning campaign, although the Juventus star was able to lead Portugal past the Liverpool star's Netherlands team in the Nations League final.

The 34-year-old Ronaldo, who scored 21 goals and helped guide Juventus to the Scudetto last season, did not attend Monday's ceremony in Paris.

And the Juventus star's agent was quick to state that he disagrees with anyone that doesn't give his client recognition as the best to ever play, despite Monday's Messi triumph.

“Cristiano is the best player in history, and you know it!” he told reporters at the Gran Gala del Calcio, an event recognising the best players in Italian football from last season.

READ ALSO: Juventus star Ronaldo named Serie A player of the year

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, unsurprisingly, has a different viewpoint as he backed his star Messi as the best he's ever seen.

The Argentinian forward, who moved one clear of Ronaldo's five Ballons d'Or mark, reclaimed the title he last won in 2015, with the Portuguese winning the award in 2016 and 2017 before Luka Modric surged to the award in 2018 off the back of a standout World Cup campaign.

This term, though, the award was all Messi's, as he fired 40 goals and 15 assists for Barcelona.

"He is the greatest player of all time, in the history of football. It's clear for us and Barca," Bartomeu told L'Equipe following Messi's win. 

"I hope it will not be his last Ballon d'Or. He is still young. He can play many more years with us.''

He added on Twitter: "The Ballon d'Or once again goes to the greatest player of all time. Football and Barça celebrate another wonderful achievement. Congratulations Leo!"

Messi's Barcelona will face Mallorca on Saturday, having topped Atletico Madrid this past Sunday behind a late Messi strike to stay atop the Liga table.

READ ALSO: Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d'Or title

Ronaldo's Juventus, meanwhile, are set to visit Lazio this weekend as the defending Serie A champions sit second in the league behind Inter.