Fabio Capello rates Lionel Messi
as one of the best three players to ever play football - but does not include Cristiano Ronaldo
in that category.
The Barcelona star has been in red-hot form in front of goal again this season and netted a brace midweek against Lyon to seal their spot in the Champions League quarter-final.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, grabbed the headlines by scoring a hat-trick to inspire Juventus
to a remarkable comeback against Atletico Madrid
in Turin to progress in the competition.
One-time England manager Capello, who has described the Argentine as the 'only genius in world football',
weighed in on the Messi-Ronaldo debate after watching them both shine on the biggest stage this week.
'Ronaldo's an extraordinary footballer, but Messi is a genius,' Capello told Sky Italia.
'There are three geniuses in football: Pele, Maradona and Messi. Period. Ronaldo is very strong as he lets you win everything, but Messi is a genius and something else.
'I faced Messi when he was 16 years old and I was amazed. He did the same things he does today but 20 years younger because he was born a genius.
'He invents things that others don't see. Ronaldo has made himself a champion, but not a genius.'
Ronaldo has enjoyed a strong debut season in Italy, scoring 23 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions.
Messi, meanwhile, has spearheaded Barcelona's assault on three trophy fronts, netting an astonishing 36 goals in 35 appearances.