Cristiano Ronaldo is growing tired of comparisons with Lionel Messi and believes the race for the Ballon d'Or is wide open.
The Primera Division pair, whose feats for Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to wow the football world, are widely considered to be in a head-to-head battle for the prestigious award.
Both are on a 23-man shortlist compiled by FIFA's football committee and experts from France Football magazine.
When asked who he expected to win the award, Ronaldo played down the supposed rivalry with Messi and suggested there were plenty of potential recipients.
"(The rivalry) is a question of the media," he told France Football. "We constantly face it to sell more papers and improve television audiences.
"The truth is I'm a little tired of it. It's a little heavy but I'm used to it. I don't like to compare myself with others.
"Messi and I are different, that's for sure. I respect him a lot.
"Messi can win (the Balon d'Or) but so can Xavi or Iniesta. And we cannot forget (Didier) Drogba or Falcao. They can also receive the trophy."
The award, which is voted for by international managers and captains, as well as selected journalists, will be cut to a shortlist of three before a winner is named on January 7.