Neumayr: Ronaldo did everything to increase every single ability

Markus Neumayr thinks that, although Lionel Messi may be more naturally gifted, the intense work Cristiano Ronaldo has done to improve every aspect of his game has set him apart from his rivals in The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 running.

Neumayr and Ronaldo both joined Manchester United as teenagers in 2003. Although the German midfielder didn’t go on to make an appearance for the club, he did get to study the Portuguese attacker in training.

"You saw from the beginning that he had so much talent,” Neumayr, who now represents FC Luzern in the Swiss Super League, told Goal. “I guess he doesn't have the same talent as Messi on one level, but he works harder than everybody else. This is why he is the world-class player he is.

“When I met him for the first time at United he had a completely different body. He started to work on it every day.

“Another example is his heading ability. Through hard work he developed into a player who is one of the best headers of a ball in the world. Every single ability was increased permanently because he did everything for it."

Ronaldo helped Real Madrid lift the UEFA Champions League trophy and Portugal conquer the UEFA EURO this year. The 31-year-old is presently in Japan, aiming to win a third FIFA Club World Cup having triumphed with Manchester United in 2008 and Los Merengues two years ago.

Messi and Antoine Griezmann are the remaining contenders to win The Best FIFA Men’s Player prize at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony in Zurich on 9 January 2017.