The Italy captain says that while the Portuguese would be a worthy recipient of the prestigious prize, there is no better sight in football than the Argentine at 100 per cent
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win this year?s Ballon d?Or ? but still feels that Lionel Messi is the greatest player on the planet.
Fifa announced on Monday that Ronaldo, Messi and Manuel Neuer at the three contenders for the prestigious prize, with the victor scheduled to be announced at a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland on January 15.
Messi led Argentina to the final of the World Cup, which Neuer?s Germany ultimately lifted courtesy of a 1-0 win over the Albiceleste in Rio in July.
However, Buffon believes that Ronaldo, who inspired Real Madrid to Champions League glory last season, has been the game?s most consistent performer over the past 12 months ? even though the Italy captain is of the opinion that Messi remains the superior player.
?For me, Cristiano Ronaldo will probably win, and he deserves it,? the veteran shot-stopper told
?Even if he had not won the Champions League, I think that you need to reward the strongest player at the moment.
?But, without prejudice, I think that the greatest player of all remains Messi, because when he?s at 100 per cent he is sublime to watch.
?But there?s not a great difference between the two. They?re very close and just a small decline is enough to put one above or below the other.
?Ronaldo in these last two years has been incredible, decisive and professional.?
Buffon, of course, finished second in the Ballon d?Or voting in 2006, only losing out to World Cup-winning team-mate Fabio Cannavaro.
The Bianconeri skipper was proud of his efforts that year but humbly insisted that his ex-Juve colleague was a more worthy recipient of the award.
?Nobody remembers who finishes second, particularly in sport,? he joked. ?But I tried to take a little pride out of it, though, because that second place came from making a lot of sacrifices.
?However, on that occasion, Fabio deserved to win it more than me.?