A man who claimed the Golden Ball back in 1999 believes mercurial talents at Juventus and Barcelona remain the finest players on the planet

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Cristiano Ronaldo should have won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, says Rivaldo, with the Juventus star and his eternal rival Lionel Messi still the best players on the planet.

After 10 years of domination by that pair, in which they have collected five Golden Balls apiece, their duopoly has finally been broken by Luka Modric.

The Real Madrid midfielder has swept the board this year, with the 33-year-old also securing the FIFA Best Award, the World Cup Golden Ball and top spot in the Goal 50.

There is no doubting that the talented playmaker has enjoyed a fine 12 months, but former Barcelona and Brazil star Rivaldo is not convinced that he is the finest footballer around.

A man who landed the Ballon d’Or himself back in 1999 told Betfair: “It’s always tough to give your opinion about this subject. 

“Luka Modric had a great season in 2018, winning the Champions League and helping Croatia to be World Cup final, but if I had to choose, I would vote for Ronaldo.

“The Portuguese scored a lot of goals last season, won the Champions League – scoring a sensational goal against Juventus away from home – and proved his value at the World Cup scoring four times, including a hat-trick against Spain, so I believe that he deserved the award more than anyone else.

“And then, we also have Lionel Messi who should have been at least in the top three.

“Honestly, I can’t see why things have changed this time – removing the focus from Cristiano and Messi – because both of them had good seasons.

“Some people are mentioning that Ronaldo’s club change could have contributed to losing the award, but I don’t agree with that as most of the decisive moments had already happened when he left Real Madrid to sign for Juventus, so there are no reasons to consider that a handicap.

“I think this change of focus could be an attempt to at least for a year write a different name in the history instead of still mutating from Ronaldo to Messi and Messi to Ronaldo.

“Anyway, I consider that unfair because they had solid campaigns and were decisive on their clubs, so there were no reasons to change that tendency.”

While Ronaldo finished as runner-up behind Modric in the 2018 vote, Barcelona talisman Messi slipped down to fifth.

Both men are staking serious claims to return to the summit next year, with Juventus’ star man netting 11 times so far this term while the leading light in Catalunya has 15 efforts to his name.