Gerard Pique: Cristiano Ronaldo is a machine, Lionel Messi a natural talent

Gerard Pique insists Lionel Messi is “not as obsessed” as Cristiano Ronaldo on improving himself, but believes his Barcelona teammate is the world’s best player.
Messi, 27, and Ronaldo, 29, are among the favourites for the 2014 Ballon d’Or award, with the former winning on four previous occasions and the Real Madrid forward collecting it twice.

Pique worked with Ronaldo while at Manchester United, and while the Spain international was helped a lot by the Portuguese, he thinks Messi is a “natural talent” as opposed to the Portuguese “machine.”

“I like Cristiano Ronaldo,” Pique told the Voetbal Magazine. “Many times conclusions are drawn based on specific actions without actually getting to know him.

“He has changed in recent years, I know him from United and he took to me well. He helped me a lot in Manchester.

“Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve. He is very demanding of himself, something that he showed at United.

“The most surprising thing is that Messi won four Ballons d’Or in a row and he kept going on there, with the strength to beat him.”

In fact, Pique acknowledged that he was glad when the Real Madrid man won the Ballon d’Or in 2013.

“He deserves it too. Leo is different, he is a natural talent,” he said. “Maybe he is not as obsessed or as much of a worker as Cristiano, but when he gets the ball it is impossible to take it off him.

“It seems like you can steal the ball from him, but Leo is a genius. From an early age, [he was] the best player in the world.”

Gerard Pique says Lionel Messi is the world’s finest player.

Meanwhile, former Brazil striker Ronaldo has backed his namesake to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Messi.

When asked by Brazilian website UOL whether the Portuguese was favourite and had already surpassed the achievements that he achieved in his own career, he said: “It is very difficult to compare different eras. I did my thing a long time ago.

“Explosiveness, speed, strength, scoring many goals — I think that this year he has been superior to Messi, like last year, and it seems like once again he will win the Ballon d’Or.”

the 38-year-old, who played for both Barca and Madrid, also praised Neymar, whom he believes will be the man to end Brazil’s wait to win the award once again.

“Neymar has drawn himself a lot closer to those two — he is the best hope we have now of seeing a Brazilian with the Ballon d’Or,” he added.