Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes that Cristiano Ronaldo has "certainly overtaken Lionel Messi now as the best player in the world".
The Portugal international, a former team-mate of the England forward at Old Trafford, has been in incredible form for Real Madrid in recent years and already has 20 goals in 13 Liga and the Champions League games so far this season.
Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or for his exploits in 2013 and Rooney expects him to retain the trophy this time around.
"I think so," he replied when asked by MUTVif Ronaldo would win again. "He's had an incredible two or three years and I think he has certainly overtaken Lionel Messi now as the best player in the world.
"I'm sure it'll be difficult to give it to anyone else."
Ronaldo heads a 23-man shortlist for theBallon d'Or, which will be awarded in Zurich on January 12.