You would have thought that having previously been the most successful coach in Barcelona's history and having groomed Pep Guardiola as a player and a coach, Johan Cruyff might find himself slightly favouring Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo in the great 'who's the best' debate.
But despite his deep-rooted links with Barcelona, Cruyff has delivered the ultimate snub to Messi and indeed Ronaldo by failing to inclue either of the modern day superstars in his all-time World XI.
Revealing the line up in his new book ‘Football, my philosophy’, Cruyff could find room for Manchester United icon Bobby Charlton, who features alongside the likes of Pele, Maradona, Garrincha and Carlos Alberto, but not for either Messi or Ronaldo. At least one Barcelona player does make the cut - Cruyff's protege, Pep Guardiola.
Despite the snub both players currently have bigger fish to fry and are locked in a battle to be crowned the best player in the world as the two leading favourites to lift the Ballon D'Or later this season.
Messi is targeting a record-breaking 4th consecutive award, which would move him clear of some the biggest names in world football including Cruyff himself. Ronaldo has scooped the award once, in 2008 while still with Manchester United.
Messi is also currently in a race against time to shatter another record in 2012 - he's hot on the tail of Gerd Muller's tally of 85 goals in a single calendar year, with 78 to his so far this year. His brace in the Champions League this week also made him the second highest scorer in the competition's history, while last term he set the record for most goals scored in a season.
Despite including neither man in his all-time greatest XI, the Dutchman did reveal the he believes that Messi will continue to scoop the awards ahead of Ronaldo, and said his advantage had a lot to do with his size.
'These awards are all subjective,' he said. 'Messi is tiny and so very quick with the ball and everything he does seems to have more magic about it because of that. It is only logical that he comes out on top.'
Johan Cruyff's All-Time World XI
Yashin (USSR); Carlos Alberto (Bra), Beckenbauer (Ger), Krol (Hol); Guardiola (Sp), Charlton (Eng), Di Stefano (Arg/Col/Sp), Keizer (Hol); Maradona (Arg), Pele (Bra), Garrincha (Bra)
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