Ronaldo - I'm still No.1
Cristiano Ronaldo reckons he will remain the world's best regardless of the Champions League final.
Last Updated: 24/05/09 1:57pm
Cristiano Ronaldo reckons he will remain the world's best player regardless of what happens in the UEFA Champions League final.
Wednesday's showpiece in Rome has been billed as a battle between Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi to decide who is the world's number one footballer.
Ronaldo became the first Manchester United player to be crowned World Player of the Year for 2008 and the first since George Best 40 years ago to be named European Footballer of the Year.
Messi, 21, was runner-up for both awards and has been tipped to prise those titles away from Ronaldo after a fine season with the Spanish champions.
Yet despite failing to hit the heights of last season, Ronaldo is confident he will still be recognised as the world's best.
Some may see that as arrogance but the 24-year-old Portuguese forward reckons it is that self-belief that has enabled him to emerge as an Old Trafford great.
"Every time I play football I go out on to the field believing that I am the best," he told the Sunday Mirror.
"And that is the same whether I am training or playing in the Champions League Final.
"For me, you have to have that confidence at all times. That's what makes me the player I am.
"It made me proud to be recognised as the best. I always believed I was the best, but it was an honour to become the official number one - and I still think I am at the top.
"Sometimes it is clear that if it is a close fight between two players for the European or world player of the year then winning the Champions League can decide the outcome.
"I won it last year because Manchester United won the Champions League and the Premier League, but I also won it because I scored 42 goals myself.
"It made me very happy. It was a big honour for me personally but also for Manchester."
While Ronaldo and Messi's personal battle will provide an extra dimension to Wednesday's clash, Ronaldo believes it will have no bearing on whether United retain their European crown or the Champions League trophy heads back to the Nou Camp after a three-year absence.
"This game we play is about the team, not individuals," he added. "This final is not about me and Messi. It is between Manchester United and Barcelona.
"Both are winners of their national titles and I predict that it will be a spectacular duel."