Brazil legend Ronaldo has backed Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or ahead of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
In an interview with FIFA.com, the World Cup top scorer also conceded Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi deserve to be in contention, but predicted a straight fight between Messi and Ronaldo when it comes to the voting.
Ronaldo spent one remarkable season at Barcelona, and five successful years at Real Madrid, but the former-Brazil superstar backed the Barcelona representative to trump the La Liga champions' candidate when the winner is announced in the New Year.
When asked who he would vote for if given the opportunity, Ronaldo said: "It's still a battle between those two - Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - even though [Andres] Iniesta and Xavi will be in there too and are also incredible players.
"However, because they play in midfield, the public might not feel quite as passionately about them.
"So, Messi would get my vote because, in addition to being decisive - scoring loads of goals and winning trophies - he's able to bring a special and different kind of magic to football.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is a very technical, very skilful and very pragmatic player, but Messi continues to produce the unexpected on a regular basis."
The former-Real Madrid striker also tipped current Bernabeu boss Jose Mourinho to pick up the FIFA World Coach of the Year award. The Madrid manager guided the Spanish giants to their first league title since 2008.
And the Brazil international backed his female compatriot, Marta, to win the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award. Marta has already won the award five times.
Ronaldo won the Men's Ballon d'Or award three times as a player, the same as his Madrid teammate Zinedine Zidane.