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Fergie: Ronaldo and Messi are equals

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo deserves equal billing with Barcelona's Lionel Messi when the tag of best player in the world is being deliberated.

• Ronaldo fears image may cost him
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Ferguson worked with Ronaldo during his stint at Old Trafford, which came to an end with his world record breaking £80 million move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.

Yet the United boss has suggested the question over whether Ronaldo or Messi are worthy of the title of the best player on the planet can be easily resolved, as he has backed his former charge to be a match for Barca's Argentine maestro.

"There is nothing between the two of them, they are both the best players in the world," says Ferguson in The Sun.

"There will always be great players. You can go back to the 60s with Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Eusebio. Going into the 70s you had Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer and then in the 80s Marco van Basten.

"I think what we are seeing at the moment is that Messi is an exceptional player from this decade, along with Cristiano.

"I don't think the rivalry against each other bothers them. I think they have their own personal pride in terms of wanting to be the best and I certainly know that about Cristiano because he played here at United for six years."

Ferguson may be handed a reunion with his former star in the draw for the Champions League on Thursday, as Manchester United could be handed a mouth-watering last-16 tie against Ronaldo's Real Madrid.

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