'Ronaldo and Messi worse than Suarez'

Cristian Rodriguez insists that his Uruguay team-mate is unparalleled in modern football and thinks the Liverpool star's "rebel" attitude on the pitch is brilliant
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not at the same level as Luis Suarez, according to loyal Uruguay team-mate Cristian Rodriguez.

The Liverpool striker underwent a knee operation earlier in May and is a doubt to be fit in time for the World Cup, which kicks off in under two weeks, although senior Uruguay figures insist he will play in the tournament.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi are widely considered to be the best players on the planet, but Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodriguez contests the status quo and claims Suarez is the cream of the crop.

"Suarez is the best player in the world," the Uruguayan, 28, told the Daily Mail. "And I’m not saying that because I’m Uruguayan and so is he.

"As far as I’m concerned Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are a notch or so below Suarez. He has demonstrated it for club and country. Messi and Ronaldo are not as good for their countries as for their clubs.

"Everyone loves him in the squad. He is a rebel on the pitch who fights for every ball but that is what we love about him in Uruguay. We hate to lose at anything, we want to win - so his will to win makes him a good Uruguayan."

Suarez enjoyed a bumper season with Liverpool in 2013-14, firing 31 goals to take them within touching distance of the Premier League title before dropped points in the final straight allowed Manchester City to triumph.

However, Ronaldo also put in a stunning season with Real Madrid as he scored a record number of goals in a single Champions League season to help the club win La Decima, with the Copa del Rey also in the Blancos bag.

Messi's campaign was muted, by comparison, as Barcelona finished 2013-14 with just the Supercopa to show for their efforts after failing to defeat Atletico Madrid in the final day of the season when a win would have given them La Liga.