Brazilian footballers choose Messi over Neymar as world's best

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Lionel Messi has been unanimously voted the world's best footballer, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, in a UOL Esporte survey taken by players from the Campeonato Brasileiro.

Of the 100 anonymous votes cast - from clubs including Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Santos, Palmeiras, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense, Botafogo and Internacional - the Barcelona and Argentina forward garnered an overwhelming 90 per cent of the poll.

Ronaldo ranked second with a comparatively small seven per cent of votes going towards the Real Madrid star, while Brazil's own homegrown talent, Neymar, shared third place alongside two other Barca players - Andres Iniesta and Xavi - with a meagre one per cent of support.

The result means that all three nominees for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award were recognised by footballers in Brazil's top-flight, with their allegiance to their compatriot, and fellow Brasileiro player Neymar having little impact in swaying the outcome.

However, the 20-year-old Santos striker was voted the best Brazilian player at present in a separate poll by the same players, receiving an emphatic 89 per cent of support by the respondents.

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