Manchester City star, Gundogan has picked Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi, over the Portuguese star Ronaldo in the eternal debate over who is the greatest player of the modern era.

The German, Ilkay Gundogan has expressed his view that Lionel Messi, Kevin de Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe are currently the top three players in the world. Above all, he has left out five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gundogan listed the three men when asked for his opinion on the best footballers in the business during a Q&A session on Twitter.

Messi picked up football’s most coveted individual award for the sixth time last year. The Barcelona captain finished ahead of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and long-time rival Ronaldo who currently plies his trade in Italy with Juventus.

Messi and Ronaldo have battled for supremacy at the very highest level over a decade. Neither of them has shown signs of slowing down as they approach the twilight years of their respective careers.

Ronaldo has his 21 goals in 22 Serie A matches this season. He has served as the focal point upfront in Maurizio Sarri’s line-up.

Despite delivering consistency in one of Europe’s major leagues, Gundogan does not rank the Portuguese among the elite anymore.

Gundogan still believes Messi sets the standards for all other players to aspire to. Moreover, the German has named City team-mate, De Bruyne and PSG, Mbappe as the current heirs to the Argentine’s throne.

When asked about Leroy Sane’s future at the Etihad, the 29-year-old responded, “I would be happy if he remains my teammate for many years. We will see what will happen.”

(Sane has missed the entire 2019/20 campaign due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury. But, recently, Guardiola confirmed the winger is closing in on a return to first-team action.)