Former Spain international Marcelino believes Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi, arguing that the Real Madrid superstar is "the most complete player in the history of football".
Ronaldo bagged his third hat-trick in four Liga games - a record-equaling 22nd in the Spanish top flight - in his club's 5-0 rout of Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, thus taking his goal tally for the season to 13.
Consequently, while Marcelino has the utmost respect for Barcelona ace Messi, the retired defender believes that Ronaldo is currently peerless and a near-certainty to retain his Ballon d'Or title.
"He's the most complete player in the history of football," the 43-year-old told Sky Sports.
"He can score goals with his head, with his feet. He's as strong as anyone; as powerful as anyone.
"He looks like he wants to keep improving. He wants to score and add more numbers to his statistics.
"There's been this debate between Messi and Ronaldo. Messi has been fantastic but Ronaldo, and I keep saying it, is the most complete player ever.
"If the [Ballon d'Or] were awarded now, he would get it."
Ronaldo has been crowned the best play in the world on two occasions, with Messi triumphing four times in total.