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Willian names the greatest ever footballer – and it’s not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo

Chelsea star Willian has revealed who he believes is the greatest footballer of all-time – and it’s not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

The legendary duo have battled it out for more than a decade to be labelled as the best player to ever partake in the sport, winning countless team and individual awards between them.

However, Willian has named Brazilian compatriot Ronaldinho as the best footballer of all-time, in his eyes.

Between 2003 and 2008, Ronaldinho made more than 200 appearances for Barcelona, where he won the La Liga title twice and also lifted the Champions League trophy in 2006 after they beat Arsenal in the final.

After leaving Spain for a stint in Italy with AC Milan, the World Cup winner wound down his career back in Brazil with a string of clubs including Atletico Mineiro and Fluminese, before hanging up his boots in 2015.

Growing up as a youngster, Willian has admitted to following Ronaldinho closely and has heaped praise on the Brazilian superstar.

Ronaldinho celebrates his goal in March 2006 (Photo by Cesar Rangel/AFP/Getty Images)

“Ronaldinho was the best of all time. Better than Messi and Cristiano,” he said. “They score goals, but what Ronnie did was incredible. He was amazing on the field and also scored.”

“As a fan of his, I have to say that he left too soon,” he added.

“If he had kept up the level a couple of years, he would have won many more Ballon d’Or’s.”

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Ronaldinho was rewarded for his stunning form with Barcelona as he was handed the 2005 Ballon d’Or.

Only three players, Fabio Canavaro (2006) Kaka (2007) and Luka Modric (2018) have lifted the coveted trophy since Ronaldinho, apart from Messi and Ronaldo.

Both are expected to be in the running, alongside Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk for this year’s gong, fresh from lifting the Champions League with the Reds.

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