Sir Alex Ferguson was at the Bernabeu to judge for himself on Wednesday night when Barcelona's Argentinian phenomenon went head-to-head with Real Madrid's Portuguese superstar.
Messi came out on top on that occasion but Sir Alex still has great admiration for Ronaldo, who spent six years at Old Trafford before moving to Madrid.
"Well, I had Ronaldo here as a player and I think he is the best player in the world," Sir Alex told ManUtd.com. "He can play with both feet, he has fantastic skill, strength and bravery, and he’s a greater header of the ball. But Messi is an absolutely fantastic player also.
"It’s difficult to choose between the two, it’s the toss of a coin.
"It depends on how you view your player. The fact that I had Ronaldo here so long, I know him well. I saw how he dedicated himself in training sessions to becoming the best player in the world and so
2010/2011 record - games/goals:
La Liga 30/31
Champions League 10/9
Copa del Rey 7/7
La Liga 30/29
Champions League 10/6
Copa del Rey 8/7