Sir Alex Ferguson will not allow any personal connections to cloud his thinking when it comes to comparing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with the former Manchester United manager unable to split the Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars.

Ferguson signed Ronaldo from Sporting and enabled him to reach the heights of a Ballon d'Or win, before the Portugal captain was sold to Real Madrid for a then world record transfer fee of £80 million in the summer of 2008.

However, since claiming the top individual prize in European football during his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo has lost out to Messi in each of the following four years and the debate continues to rumble on as to which player is more superior.

Ferguson, for his part, does not rate either as the greatest ever - with Pele winning the vote of the Old Trafford legend - but he would not be so bold as to choose between Ronaldo and Messi as the best player in the world right now.

"Today, I think that you have got to look at Messi and Ronaldo," Ferguson, who won 13 league titles with Manchester United, told PBS.

"They are unbelievable. The best today. They are fantastic – absolutely."

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