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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm the first, second and third best player in the world, says smug Man United star Ronaldo

Who are the three best players in the world? For Cristiano Ronaldo, there is only one candidate.

 Cristiano Ronaldo

I'm No 1 (and 2, and 3): Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring on Saturday

'I am the first, second and third,' the Manchester United star said with a smile after arriving in Brazil for international duty with Portugal.

The 23-year-old conceded AC Milan's Kaka, Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Liverpool's Fernando Torres were 'good candidates', but he believes he has surpassed all of his rivals for the FIFA World Footballer of the Year and Ballon d'Or awards.

Asked if he had done enough to be named the best player in the world this year, he told Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo: ' I think I did all that was needed and I want to keep doing more. My goal is to win everything that comes before me.'

In a typically confident interview, the former Sporting Lisbon ace said he was ready for plenty of attention from Brazilian women ahead of Wednesday night's friendly in Brasilia.

'Oh, I'm ready for harassment (from women), I'm used to that in Europe, and here it is the same,' he said. 'It is a friendly game here and a good opportunity to relax.

'I have been [to Brazil] a few times, but never to play. I love holidays here, there are beautiful beaches and the people are nice.'

Despite consistently setting himself targets to score more goals, the Old Trafford idol claims personal glory is not his main aim.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani

Birthday boy: Ronaldo congratulates Nani - his Manchester United and Portugal team-mate - who turned 22 today

'My goal, frankly, has never been to score goals,' he said. 'I like to play for the team and what is most important is that we win games.

'But if the goals appear, even better. I'm having the good fortune to score many goals and hope that things continue like this.'

Portugal arrive in Brazil after a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, which has seen them win one, draw two and lose one since Carlos Queiroz replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari as the national team's coach.

A home draw against Albania last time out was particularly badly received but Ronaldo has asked for patience.

'Big Phil (Scolari) is a great friend. I'm sorry he has left the Portugal job, but it was an excellent move (to Chelsea). I loved working with him.

'Queiroz has not had much time to develop his work. Two years ago, England also had problems and then they recovered. All the big national teams go through this. Let us recover.'

Recovery is also something that Ronaldo hopes for in the global economy, even if you would think his multi-million pound contract leaves him immune from the credit crunch.

'The situation has to worry everyone, yes,' he said. 'We are worried and feel a certain uncertainty (about the future). We talk about it - it is part of our reality - but we believe that things will improve.'