Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on winning as many as three more Ballon d’Or accolades to prove that he is better than longtime rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi both have five Ballon d’Or titles to their name, testament to the pair’s brilliance stretching back more than a decade.
But Ronaldo, 34, revealed in an interview with Piers Morgan that he is far from done with that tally, and was seeking to edge ahead of the Barcelona captain to help settle the never-ending debate over which of the pair is better.
“I would love it, and I think I deserve it,” Ronaldo told Morgan when asked about winning the accolade again.
“Messi is a fantastic guy, a fantastic player. He’s in the history of football – but I think I have to have six or seven or eight [Ballon d’Or titles] to be above him.”
The Juventus forward said that while he was “not friends” with Messi, he had big respect for him as the pair have spurred each other on to achieve even greater things.
“My relationship with him is, we are not friends, but we have shared this stage for 15 years.
“I have a good relationship with him and I know that he has pushed me to be a better player and I have pushed him to be a better player as well.”
Ronaldo is in the final three for the FIFA Best Men’s Player award this year – a similar accolade to the Ballon d’Or – along with Messi and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
Dutchman van Dijk recently pipped the pair to the UEFA Player of the Year in what could be an indication as to where the FIFA Best and Ballon d’Or prizes will end up.
But even if he fails to add to his incredible individual trophy haul, Ronaldo said his place among the game’s all-time greats was already assured.
“I’m sure I’m in the history of football for what I have done and what I’m continuing to do, but one of the best players in history,” he said.
“For me, the number one in history, but for some fans, if the number one is another one and I’m second, it doesn’t matter.”
He also said that he had an “obsession to win,” but that he did not chase specific individual landmarks, but rather “the records follow me.”
Ronaldo’s wide-ranging interview with Morgan also focused on aspects of his fame and family life – including his regret that his father, who died in 2005 following a battle with alcoholism, had not lived to see many of his achievements.
Ronaldo is in action tonight as Juventus open their Champions League campaign at Atletico Madrid.