Lionel Messi has been spurred to greater heights by having Cristiano Ronaldo as a rival, according to Patrick Kluivert.
The Dutchman hinted that Messi would be an inferior player had Ronaldo not been around in his era.
The spotlight has rested on their head-to-head battle following Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid in 2009, with their astonishing goalscoring feats dwarfing the rest of world football.
“Messi is in a different dimension with his football, but I also think he urgently needs someone like Cristiano Ronaldo,” former Barcelona striker Kluivert told Voetbal Zone.
“He needs someone who gives him an incentive to go for it every game, to see each match as a challenge. Both players are world class and a level above the rest.
“At Barcelona, now there is only one central player: Messi. During my time, there were several important players there, though on the other hand Messi’s nothing without his team-mates.”
Messi is the clear favourite to scoop the 2015 Ballon d’Or after catapulting Barca towards the treble last season. The Argentine has watched his Portuguese rival claim back-to-back awards in the past two