Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated football for the best part of a decade.
The pair have shared the Ballon d’Or award for the past eight years, trading the trophy as if they were the only two contenders.
But with Messi recently turning 29 and Ronaldo already into his fourth decade, it’s now time to start talking about their successor. Or at least Rivaldo thinks it is.
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The former Barcelona forward won the Ballon d’Or in 1999, at a time when himself, the Brazilian Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane were at the top of the game.
That was a time in football before Messi and Ronaldo came along to dominate the sport. When there were 10 different winners of the award in the 1990s.
It’s time for a player to step up and dethrone Messi and Ronaldo as football’s best, and Rivaldo reckons Neymar is destined to be that player.
“Now the best are still Messi and Ronaldo, but I think very soon Neymar will be the best player,” he said, per Mundo Deportivo.
Neymar is the obvious choice to become the world’s best player in the coming years. He came third in the 2015 Ballon d’Or voting and developed from the next big thing into a genuine superstar last season.
The 24-year-old scored 31 goals for Barcelona and didn’t look out of place alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.
With his future at the Camp Nou finally resolved, it will be interesting to see if the Brazilian can make another step up in 2016-17.
Rivaldo, who won back-to-back La Liga titles during his time in Catalonia, hopes to see Barcelona’s sustained period of success continue for years to come.
“Barca is a great team and for five or six years their football has made people very happy,” the 2002 World Cup winner added. “All the fans like and admire it and I hope they continue like this.”