Cristiano Ronaldo believes his rivalry with Lionel Messi has plenty of distance left to run after scooping the Best FIFA Men's Player award in London.
Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo was honoured at the gala after a poll of international head coaches, captains and members of the media saw him come out ahead of Barcelona counterpart Messi, with Brazil and PSG forward Neymar in third.
Including the years when FIFA's individual award was merged with the Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo and Messi have now been labelled the best player in the world by football's global governing body five times apiece.
The Portugal captain has come out on top in four of the past five years, with Messi in second place on each occasion.
Yet Messi has been in a rich vein of form for club and country over recent months, firing Barca to the top of LaLiga with 11 goals in nine matches and securing Argentina's place at the 2018 World Cup with a majestic hat-trick against Ecuador.
As the all-time leading scorers for their respective clubs and countries and the two leaders in both LaLiga and Champions League history, debate over who is superior out of Messi and Ronaldo will occupy football fans for some time to come.
Amazing feeling to have won this award again. Want to dedicate to my family, my friends, my teammates and coaches from both Real Madrid and Portuguese NT and everyone who supported me. pic.twitter.com/umpYMo1JZg— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) October 23, 2017
Speaking to reporters at London Palladium, Ronaldo initially sought to play down the rivalry before apparently laying down a long-term challenge to the 30-year-old Messi, whom he swapped cordial greetings with as they sat alongside each other during the ceremony.
"I don't compete with Leo," he said. "He is a player, who is in the same era. He won five times. I won five times too - individual awards for the best in the world. So things are as they are.
"Obviously, I am happy because, as I said before, I am at the best club in the world. I have had the opportunity to demonstrate that I am at a very high level during the last few years. And I am still [physically] very well.
"So I am very quiet. I will see what's going to happen tomorrow, but at the moment I have to enjoy this nice moment of my life because you never know what will happen next."
But, asked whether Ronaldo versus Messi was over, the 32-year-old added: "It didn't finish yet... it is just starting."
Reigning Spanish and European champions Madrid are currently five points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona, who they host in the first Clasico of the season on December 23.
|Giampaolo promises more from ´extraordinary´ Sampdoria|
|Dimitrov overcomes gutsy Goffin to win ATP Finals|
|Memorable Ashes Moments: Australia skittled for 98 at MCG|
|NFL extends deal to play in Mexico through 2021|
|Record-breaking Valencia tee up blockbuster Barcelona clash|
|Poor West Ham performance at Watford was to be expected - Moyes|
|We will see what happens in the future - Silva non-committal on Everton rumours|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|Racing climb above Toulon in thriller|
|Football needs to do more to combat racism - Boateng|
|Watford 2 West Ham 0: Misery for Moyes on Hammers bow|
|Unlucky 13: Benevento suffer record-breaking defeat|
|Juventus lost composure amid Sampdoria onslaught - Allegri|
|Exeter capitalise on Saracens defeat to top Premiership|
|Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood hails ´biggest day of my career´|
|Dutch Grand Prix a ´realistic´ prospect from 2020|
|Sampdoria 3 Juventus 2: Champions slip further off the pace after thriller|
|Coleman confirmed as Sunderland boss|
|I was just injured - Belgium´s Nainggolan blasts ´stupid´ claims of feigned ailment|
|Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Losing streak snapped to ease pressure on Christiansen|
|Ioane and Romano to miss All Blacks´ Wales clash|
|One punch only! Tete retains world title with 11-second knockout|
|Hughes backs Giggs for Wales job|
|Bennett: Social media clip prompted Brown withdrawal|
|Memorable Ashes Moments: Anderson and Panesar defy Australia in Cardiff|
|Madrid confirm Ramos´ broken nose after derby clash|
|Kane wants to retire with Tottenham|
|Mourinho: Man United lacked balance with attacking line-up|
|Fleetwood wins Race to Dubai after Rose wilts, Rahm claims tournament win|
|Pastore not considering PSG exit to help World Cup chances|
|Wenger, Ozil & Sanchez uncertainty affecting Arsenal, says Seaman|
|Dhawan, Rahul lead India revival in Kolkata|
|Silva not surprised by Chelsea, Spurs interest in Richarlison|
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Bencic doubles up with Taipei title|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Bayliss calls for A-team matches on Ashes tours|
|Smith will bowl in the Ashes, says Lehmann|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|England book Tonga semi with PNG win|
|Celtics win 15th straight, 76ers in collapse against Warriors|
|Lehmann tells Australia: Get behind the Ashes team|
|Goffin revels in career-best win after upstaging Federer|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|It´s been an amazing year - Federer signs off for 2017 after London exit|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Celtics coach Stevens wants more despite 14-game streak|
|Kerr: What Embiid did against the Lakers was terrifying|
|Cook extends lead at RSM Classic|
|Frampton beats Garcia by unanimous decision in front of Canelo|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|Hogg and Barclay ´gutted´ to let All Blacks escape|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|
|Los Blank-os! Misfiring Real Madrid break new ground under Zidane|
|Zidane upbeat despite derby stalemate|
|Zidane unsure on Ramos absence with suspected broken nose|
|Mind the gap! Real Madrid must make history to retain LaLiga title|
|Dimitrov denies Sock to book Goffin showdown|
|Springboks gain measure of revenge over 2023 RWC hosts France|
|Alonso fuels Le Mans talk with WEC rookie test|
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Wasps sting Falcons, Warriors off the mark|
|Montpellier take charge of Top 14 as Lyon slip up|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Jones bristles at suggestion England ´got lucky´|