Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos believes Crstiano Ronaldo's work ethic and desire to always improve makes him the best in the world.
Ronaldo went on to win his fifth Ballon d'Or in December at the FIFPro ceremony - equalling Lionel Messi's haul.
The award capped off a fine silverware catch for the Portuguese international, winning several other individual accolades, as well as coming out on top in La Liga and the Champions League.
Former los Blancos player Roberto Carlos believes the Euro 2016 winner stands above Messi and countryman Neymar in terms of ability, when speaking to Fox Sports.
"These days, when you talk about football, you talk about Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo. Cristiano has worked to improve.
"When you talk about the Ballon d'Or or any other prize, it's not just any other prize, it's not just any person who votes, it's people who know football, who follow the stats and pick the best in the world."
Carlos spent 11 years in Spain's capital in a tenure littered with trophies. On top of winning four La Liga trophies and three European Cups, the former full-back also won the World Cup in 2002.
"I watch him train every day and the way he works is exciting He wants to improve everyday," he added.
"That's the difference with Messi - Leo is a phenomenon, we never talk about Neymar... but that side of Cristiano, of training, professionalism, focus, motivation, success... Cristiano has an advantage over all the others."
Despite the kind remarks, Ronaldo has, by and large, struggled this campaign, along with the team as a whole.
The ex-Manchester United man has just four goals in twelve La Liga matches, but has scored nine in each of the Champions League group stage games.
Ronaldo and Messi last met in a week ago in El Clasico, where the Argentine scored and helped push the Catalans fourteen points clear of their perennial rivals.