Although Cristiano Ronaldo took over David Beckham's iconic shirt number at Manchester United, the Englishman has insisted the Portuguese superstar is not on Lionel Messi's level.
Beckham left United in 2003, with a young Ronaldo joining the club in the same window. The latter later followed the Englishman to Real Madrid, where the Portuguese and Messi rivalled each other for domestic and individual titles as well as goalscoring records.
Beckham, though, has now insisted that Ronaldo is not on the same level as the FC Barcelona captain, even though he is the only player who comes close to him.
"Messi is unique as a player and there isn't anybody else like him," Beckham told Argentine broadcaster Telam, as cited by AS.
"Both he and Cristiano, who is not at the same level as Messi, are head and shoulders above the rest."
Click through the gallery below to see images of Messi and Ronaldo as opponents:
Beckham himself faced Messi with Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League in the 2012/13 campaign.
"We were ahead, and he came on and Barcelona scored. Despite my age, I enjoyed playing and the team played well in both legs," he added.
"We did things that we can be proud of. They didn't beat us."
Both legs of the quarter-final tie ended in a draw, but Barcelona progressed to the semi-finals on away goals. However, their road ended there when they were thumped 7-0 on aggregate by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
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