Sampaoli: There’s a big difference between Ronaldo and Messi

Jorge Sampaoli thinks Cristiano Ronaldo would be a worthy winner of The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 award – if Lionel Messi didn’t exist. The Portugal No7 and the Argentina No10 are among the final three contenders for the prize, along with Antoine Griezmann.

"Cristiano is deserving of any award that can be awarded to him, but it seems to me that there is a big difference between Messi and him," said the Sevilla coach. "The rest need to compete for another because one will always be Messi's."

Since assuming the Sevilla reins in June, Sampaoli has faced Messi thrice, with Barcelona winning them all. Messi provided two goals and three assists in those matches.

Sampaoli did nevertheless mastermind Chile’s victory over an Argentina side including Messi in the Copa America 2015 final. La Roja won on penalties after a goalless draw.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player will be crowned at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony in Zurich on 9 January 2017.