By David Salazar, ( | First Posted: Apr 22, 2013 05:57 PM EDT

Barcelona's Lionel Messi looks on as Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during their Spanish first division "classic" match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, March 2, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))

The debate between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has raged for years with the two phenoms dominating the soccer world. Lionel Messi's four straight Ballon D'Ors have given the Argentine the edge in recent years, but Cristiano Ronaldo has been the superior player in the first part of 2013.

However, Brazilian legend Ronaldo does not even believe there is a contest. "I would say Messi [is the world's best player] because he is a little bit better than Cristiano," the 36-year-old said in an interview with Tuttosport.

However, he did note that Ronaldo would probably be the winner of that contest if he had lived in another era.

"I would also add that Cristiano has had unbelievably bad luck. He would have been the best player in the world in many other eras, but he has coincided with another of the game's greats," Ronaldo added about his namesake.

Messi has dominated the Spanish league this season and has scored 43 goals for Barcelona against Spanish competition. Ronaldo trails him mightily with "only" 31 goals. A year ago, Messi scored 50 Spanish league goals while Ronaldo trailed him with 45. In the entire 2012, Messi scored a record-breaking 92 goals in all competitions.

In the 2012-13 season Messi has 57 goals and 15 assists in 46 appearances for Barça. Ronaldo has 50 goals and 10 assists in 49 appearances for his club. However, Ronaldo leads all goal scorers with 11 tallies in the Champions league while Messi lags behind with eight. Since Jan.1, Ronaldo has scored 27 goals while Messi has "only" found the back of the net 22 times.  

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