David Beckham has weighed in on the debate about who is the better player between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming that the Barcelona icon is in a class of his own.
The duo have won 11 of the last 12 Ballons d'Or between them and are widely regarded as the two best players of their generation and two of the greatest of all time.
Both Messi and Ronaldo continue to operate at the highest level with Barcelona and Juventus respectively, but Beckham, who like Ronaldo counts Manchester United and Real Madrid among his former clubs, believes that Messi stands above his perennial rival.
"Messi is alone in his class as a player, it's impossible that there is someone else like him," Beckham told Argentine news agency Telam.
"As a player and there is no other like him. He, like Ronaldo, who doesn't reach his level, are above the rest. They may have similarities in technique and talent.
"It is amazing for football to have them both playing at the same time. But Messi is simply the best player in the world."
Messi and Ronaldo have scored a combined total of 1,422 senior career goals between them for club and country.