Xavi: 'Cristiano Ronaldo not smart enough to rival Lionel Messi'

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi vies with Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the Spanish league Clasico football match on October 26, 2013
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Xavi claims that Barcelona ace Lionel Messi's intelligence on the field sets him apart from Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of individual qualities.

Barcelona legend Xavi has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo lacks the footballing intelligence required to rival Lionel Messi on the global stage.

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."

Xavi, who is now plying his trade at Al Sadd in the Middle East, also recently suggested that Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez has what it takes to succeed at Barcelona.

Xavi Hernandez for Barcelona on December 7, 2014
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