Chelsea midfielder Ramires has revealed that Lionel Messi, rather than Cristiano Ronaldo, is the most difficult player he has faced so far his career.
Ramires came up against Barcelona superstar Messi twice during the 2011/12 Champions League campaign – and, although it was Chelsea who progressed to the Champions League final, the Argentina international still made a huge impression on the indefatigable Blues' star.
"I have played against many very good players, like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," Ramires told Chelsea's official website, before adding: "I think I would have to say Messi was the hardest one. Everyone knows his talent."
Messi, who won four consecutive Ballon d'Or awards between 2009 and 2012, is widely regarded as the best player of his generation.
However, some believe that Real Madrid's prolific forward Ronaldo is the more complete player.
The Portugal captain won the Ballon d'Or for the second time in his career earlier this month after dragging his national team to the 2014 World Cup finals via the qualifying play-offs.
Whether it's Ronaldo or Messi who performs better in Brazil this summer could determine who goes on to win the 2014 Ballon d'Or.