RIO DE JANEIRO, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Best FIFA player of the year award in 2017, despite the fine performances of his rival Lionel Messi, according to Brazilian great Ronaldo de Lima.
"This year I would choose Cristiano Ronaldo to win it," Ronaldo, a three-time recipient of football's highest individual honor, told Fox Sports on Sunday. "In the past two years he has been decisive. His statistics can't be ignored," Ronaldo added.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a four-time winner of the FIFA player of the year award, has scored 40 goals and provided 12 assists in 45 matches for Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season. Meanwhile, Messi - who has received the accolade five times - has scored 54 goals and provided 19 assists in 52 matches.
Real Madrid won the title of the Spanish La Liga and will play Juventus in the Champions League final on Saturday. Barcelona, meanwhile, won the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey.
"I love watching Messi with the ball at his feet," Ronaldo said. "He scores goals and everything else. Both players are fantastic but it's a cruel comparison. Both players deserve respect," he concluded.