PARIS • No sooner had Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Lionel Messi's record of five Ballon d'Or awards on Thursday, than the Portugal star declared himself the best footballer of all time.
"I don't see anyone better than me," he told France Football, the magazine that presents the prestigious individual gong. "No player does things I cannot do myself but I see things others can't do.
"I'm the best player in history - in the good and the bad moments."
The Real Madrid forward won the 2017 Ballon d'Or award at a ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, while Messi was second in the vote by 173 journalists. Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was third.
While Ronaldo insisted he is without peer, he revealed that he wants to prolong his rivalry with Messi.
"I hope to play at this level for several years more and I hope that the battle with Messi continues," he said after adding to his previous wins in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
The 32-year-old was the top scorer last season, as Real became the first team to retain their crown in the Champions League era.
He also led the Spanish giants to their first LaLiga title in five years, netting 25 goals - including the first in their title-clinching 2-0 win at Malaga - as they wrested the trophy back from Barcelona.
The Portuguese scored 42 times in all competitions for Real last season - after campaigns of 51, 61, 51, 55, 60, and 53 - but crucially, delivered when it mattered most.
He found form in the latter stages of the Champions League, scoring eight goals against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid to help put Real into the final in Cardiff.
There, he netted twice in their 4-1 victory over Juventus.
The Portugal star matching Messi in winning the most coveted individual prize in the game will reignite the worldwide debate over which of the two players is the best in the world or ever.
The duo have now shared the last 10 Ballons d'Or in an era of dominance that Ronaldo wants to continue.
"I want seven. Five is good but seven is my lucky number so seven would be great," Portugal and Real's No. 7 told French sports newspaper L'Equipe.
"I want seven children (he has four) and seven Ballons d'Or."
Ronaldo and Messi have the same number of European Golden Shoes and Champions League triumphs (four), while Messi has the edge in league titles with eight to Ronaldo's five (two with Real and three with Manchester United).
THE REASON HE'S BETTER
I don't see anyone better than me. No player does things I cannot do myself but I see things others can't do. I'm the best player in history.
CRISTIANO RONALDO, Real Madrid and Portugal star, on what gives him the edge.
The Argentina forward is the all-time top scorer in LaLiga, although Ronaldo, who joined the Spanish top flight five years after Messi made his debut, has a better goals-to-game ratio.
Ronaldo is also the top scorer in the Champions League with a tally of 114 goals, 17 ahead of Messi.
So far this calendar year, Messi has scored more goals (52-49) and created more assists (14-13) than Ronaldo.
The latter has two goals in 10 league games this term - his fewest since he was at Manchester United in 2005-06. But he collected his latest honour after becoming the first player to score in all six Champions League group games.
He will lead reigning European champions Portugal at next year's World Cup in Russia.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS