The 1991 winner of the 'European Footballer of the Year' award believes the Real Madrid ace had a better 2011-12 campaign than his Barcelona counterpart
The Clasico pair have contested the individual award in recent years, but it has been the Barca star who has taken the accolade home on the past three occasions, including the last two since the merger of the Ballon d'Or and the Fifa World Player of the Year.
Messi has been installed as the favourite to retain the honour, but according to former Olympique de Marseille and Bayern Munich attacker Papin, Ronaldo's success with Real Madrid on a team level means he should emerge victorious, despite the Argentine's record-breaking campaign.
"Cristiano Ronaldo has been more successful over the past season [than Lionel Messi], so I think he will win the Ballon d'Or," Papin told BeIN Sport.
Papin, who scored 30 goals in 54 internationals, also represented the likes of AC Milan and Bordeaux during a career that spanned three decades.