London: Who is a better player, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? That is an unending debate within the football world. But Chelsea midfielder Willian feels that former Brazilian forward Ronaldinho was a better player.
Willian, who idolises Ronaldinho, pointed out that the period from 2003 to 2005, when Ronaldinho won the Champions League, Spanish League and Spanish Super Cup with FC Barcelona, were his peak years when he displayed better skills than Messi and Ronaldo.
"Ronaldinho is the biggest idol in football for me. I like him a lot. I've met him, but I never got to say that he is my idol. In my opinion, I think that Ronaldinho, at that time (between 2003 and 2005), was bigger than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," the winger was quoted as saying by goal.com.
"Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi make a lot of goals, but what Ronaldinho used to do was unbelievable. He used to be amazing on the field, and also scored a lot of goals. As his fan, I think he stopped (playing at the top level) a little early," he added.
"If he continued to play he would certainly be three, four, five times in a row the best player in the world. He was two times (the best player in the world), and then I don't know what happened, but if he wanted to continue that way, he would certainly be five times in a row the best in the world."
Willian went on to state that Messi -- the superstar in the current Barcelona squad -- is a better player than Ronaldo.
The 27-year-old also heaped praise on Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard and asserted that the Belgian has the ability to be the best player in the world in the future.
He also felt that fellow Brazilian Neymar will also be in contention for the Ballon d'Or award.
"They are players of great quality. Although they have different styles, in my opinion. Both are very skilled and have a lot of quality, but I think their styles are a little different. But I would choose both of them in a game to play in my team, for sure," Willian said.
"I think so (Hazard and Neymar can win the Ballon d'Or). They are two great players. I think it depends on them, but they have great potential to reach that level. So I think if they continue to develop, continue to grow, certainly they will have everything to achieve this award."