It will be harder for Cristiano Ronaldo to make an impact at the FIFA World Cup tournament over the next month than it will be for Lionel Messi, according to international footballing great Pele.
While the two have been almost inseparable over the past few years, with the Real Madrid attacker sneaking ahead of the Barcelona maestro this past season thanks to a Ballon d'Or triumph and his relentlessly prolific touch in and around the penalty box, Ronaldo, 29, may struggle to replicate that form in Brazil as he will need to rely on his team-mates to raise their game.
Pele argues that Messi "has a better team around him" and, when looking at an Argentina squad that contains multiple difference-makers like Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria and Javier Mascherano it is hard to disprove him.
Portugal, in contrast, lack that quality and experience in depth and may integrate touted prospects like William Carvalho into their midfield while Raul Meireles, Hugo Almeida, Nani and Fabio Coentrao are at the tail-end of their effectiveness at the highest level.
Commenting on the Ronaldo and Messi debate, over whom is the superior talent, Pele explained to MARCA: "They are two different players. I think Cristiano will depend on how his teammates perform. He is a player who scores lots of goals, but he needs the team.
"And Messi has plenty of good support, with Higuain, Aguero… I think it will be easier for Messi to triumph."
Argentina begin their World Cup campaign with a fixture that is seemingly easier - on paper - as they take on Bosnia and Herzegovina in their first Group F clash on Sunday, June 15. Portugal take on Germany the following day, Monday, in their debut 2014 World Cup outing in Group G.