It says everything about the talent and consistency of both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that no other player has come close to their podium at the top of world football for almost a decade now.
Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar are all contenders for the title of ‘the world’s third best player’, but one man at Arsenal believes he possesses the same ability as the big two.
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In fairness to Alexis Sanchez, he’s in a pretty good position to judge.
He played alongside Messi for three years, between 2011-2014, at the Camp Nou and played against Ronaldo on multiple occasions during the same period of time.
Alexis: I have the same ability as Messi and Ronaldo
The Chile international is undoubtedly one of the world’s top players but his latest comments will still raise a few eyebrows.
"I have reached a level where I can compete with great players,” Sanchez was quoted as telling the Catalan newspaper Sport by Goal. "I do not feel inferior to anybody.
"I liken [my qualities] to Messi and Ronaldo. I have the same abilities as them."
Sanchez played second-fiddle to Messi at Barça
Sanchez might argue that he failed to produce his best form week-in, week-out at Barcelona because he was required to play second-fiddle to Messi.
The 27-year-old scored 47 goals in 141 appearances during his three seasons in Spain, while Messi netted 174 goals in 156 matches during the same period of time.
That he wasn’t the main man at the Camp Nou was one of the reasons why he agreed to join Arsenal in the summer of 2014.
He enjoyed a superb debut season in England - scoring 25 goals in 52 matches for the Gunners - but was a little more inconsistent last term, bagging 17 goals in 41 appearances.
Sanchez lacks the consistency of the big two
On his day, Sanchez could be mistaken for Messi or Ronaldo. He’s capable of putting in world-class performances.
But to reach that level, it’s no good doing it once a month, even once a fortnight.
Messi and Ronaldo have been producing the goods every three or four days for the past seven years.
Is Alexis Sanchez the world’s third best player? Have your say by leaving a comment below.