Cristiano Ronaldo improved by leaving Man United, says Steven Gerrard

Gerrard & Ronaldo. (©GettyImages)

Steven Gerrard believes Cristiano Ronaldo was a better for leaving Manchester United and joining Real Madrid has seen him become the best in the world.

Liverpool's skipper was speaking ahead of the Champions League clash with Ronaldo & co at Anfield on Wednesday evening, when he was asked for his thoughts on the Santiago Bernabeu superstar.

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Gerrard felt that the 29-year-old was an incredible player while at Old Trafford, but his decision to make the then world record £80million switch to Real Madrid in 2009 had seen him move on to "another level" and to the pinnacle of the sport.

"The figures he produced for Manchester United were very, very good. But I think his game has gone to another level," he told reporters.

"I think no he is arguably the best player in the world, so he's improved year-by-year."

Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or while at Manchester United in 2008 for being the leading star in the side that Sir Alex Ferguson led to a Premier League and Champions League double - the latter of those two trophies was won with a famous victory over Chelsea in Moscow.

However, the Portugal captain did not win it again until last year, which coincided with him breaking the single-season Champions League goals record as Real Madrid went on to win the title for the tenth time, 'La Decima'.

Big debate

This hiatus was down to the man that Gerrard was almost certainly referring to when he described Ronaldo as "arguably" the best in the world - Lionel Messi. Barcelona's little magician was the influential centre of an all-conquering Pep Guardiola side.

Despite Messi claiming the individual award four years in a row, a debate over which is the better player has continued since they became rivals for La Liga.

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