The duo have dominated the Ballon d'Or voting over the past eight years, largely taking it in turns to share world football's biggest individual prize.
Xavi enjoyed his best years at club level when linking up with Messi at Camp Nou, and the Spaniard claims that his former teammate comes out on top in the battle against Real Madrid's Ronaldo.
"Ronaldo is a goalscorer, and Messi is also a goalscorer," he is quoted as saying by The Sun. "However, Messi is a much better team player than Ronaldo. I think Messi is the best footballer in the world.
"In football, there are two important elements - fitness and intelligence. Ronaldo is very fit but Messi has both the fitness as well as the intelligence, so simply put, he is better."