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Oct 8, 2012

Mourinho: Messi, Ronaldo a class above

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has sought to bring an end to the continued debate over the relative merits of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by insisting the two are simply on another level.

• Graham Hunter: Clasico honours shared
• Blog: 'What ifs' for Madrid
• Blog: Golden Messi ensures point

Messi and Ronaldo each scored a brace during the 2-2 Clasico draw on Sunday and Mourinho has hailed the efforts of the frontrunners for the Ballon d'Or.

"I think it should be forbidden to say who [is] the best player in the world because these two are from another planet," Mourinho said. "I would like my player to win [the Ballon d'Or] because he is champion of the best league in the world, but I think they're both fantastic players."

Despite failing to make ground on league leaders Barcelona, Mourinho was quick to highlight the positives from the match, including a number of chances in front of goal.

"I think that the world will be happy because often these matches are too tactical and finish goalless," Mourinho said. "This match had everything that people like. Those fans that are in different time zones across Europe will have been awake and enjoyed this Clasico a lot and perhaps are already asking for another one in the Cup or the Champions League, if we get through.

"I think it was a great match and I said so to [Tito] Vilanova. The league is as it was before with the same points difference that there was before the match. I really enjoyed my team's display."

While Mourinho was content with a point at Camp Nou, defender Sergio Ramos believes Real had a much better work ethic than Barcelona and were unfortunate not to grab a late winner.

"Our game and hard work was better than Barcelona. Anyone who saw the match would not have been surprised if we had won," Ramos said. "On other occasions we have recognised that Barcelona were better but that would not have been what happened today if we had won.

"The league is very long, there [is] a lot of it left. We wanted to reduce the distance between us but that has not happened. We hope to do it in the coming matches."

After Ronaldo's opener, Messi scored a brace to give Barcelona the lead and the Argentinean was not deflated by the draw, given Barca's recent injury dilemmas.

"We're not having too much luck," Messi said. "We were missing some important players today, but we're lucky enough to have really good players on this team and they all do an excellent job.

"It was a great game, we would have preferred to win but we need to remember that Real Madrid are a great team."

Barcelona defender Adriano shared Messi's sentiment and believes the home side was well prepared for Real's potent attack.

"We practiced and prepared for tonight's game at the Ciutat Esportiva," Adriano said. "We trained so that we could stop Madrid's most dangerous weapon, their counterattacks.

"I played the central defender role because the manager thought it was the best thing to do seeing that Madrid are very fast. "It's a shame that we didn't win. We know that there's a lot of Liga still ahead and we still have our eight-point advantage."

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