Cristiano Ronaldo has tipped Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to win the 2009 Ballon d'Or award ahead of him.
The Portugal and Real Madrid winger, who joined Los Merengues for a world record £80million during the summer, won the prize last year but has tipped Messi to scoop this year's honour.
"To win an individual trophy, you need to have won collective trophies," he told France Football magazine.
"So the favourite for Ballon d'Or is a Barcelona player. A lot of Barcelona players could win it - Xavi, Eto'o (now at Inter), Messi too, who is obviously the favourite.
"Why not him? If he gets it, he would deserve it."
Ronaldo, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, also conceded that Barcelona are the team who are currently playing the best football in Spain, although he insisted this would change when Real start to gel.
"Of course we don't play as a team so far at Real," he added. "We still have a lot of work to do.
"But we are on the right way. It is true Barcelona plays better football than us - but why? Because they have been together for several seasons.
"Barca is better than us today, but the real question is, who will be ahead in the end?"