Kolkata: Being a Portuguese and having seen him from close quarters, Helder Postiga believes Cristiano Ronaldo is the best footballer playing the game at the moment.
"Both Messi and Ronaldo have made tremendous numbers in the last few years but I'm Portuguese and for me Cristiano Ronaldo is the best," the Portuguese international, who played with Ronaldo in two World Cups, said in Kolkata on Friday.
Portuguese player for football team Atletico de Kolkata Helder Postiga looks on during a press conference in Kolkata on September 25, 2015. Pic/AFP
"I've seen him (Ronaldo) from close quarters, he puts in a lot of effort and hard work," the former Porto forward, who idolises Dutch legend Marco van Basten, added.
Having returned yesterday after a grueling month long pre-season training camp in Spain, defending ISL champions Atletico de Kolkata on Friday introduced their new marquee player Postiga, a Portuguese International since 2003.
The two-time World Cupper (2006, 2014) had 71 appearances for the his national team scoring 27 goals, apart from representing it in the European Championship in 2004, 2008 and 2012. He was part of the famous treble-winning squad of FC Porto under Jose Mourinho when they famously clinched the Primeira Liga, UEFA Cup, and the 'Tacca de Portugal Final' in 2002-03, as he played 185 games and scored 49 goals across 10 seasons.
Giving credit to Mourinho, Postiga said: "Mourinho is one person who is responsible for me becoming a footballer. He's a special coach, his achievements in the last few years have made him one of the best."
ATK will clash against Chennaiyin FC in the ISL opener in Chennai October 3 and all eyes would be on Postiga who will take the place of Luis Garcia, who had became very popular and was instrumental in the team winning the title last year.
Acknowledging that it's a big shoe to fill, Postiga said: "Garcia had a great season but I'm optimistic of a great start. I hope to do better than Garcia."
The red and white brigade have roped in Scottish-born former Canadian international Iain Hume who had scored five goals for runners-up Kerala Blasters FC.
The former co-striker of Ronanldo said he's looking forward to strike a chord with the Canadian. "He is a very good player, he showed a lot of hard work last season, I hope to form a good partnership from our first match," Postiga said. This season's ISL will also see another Portugese international in Simao Sabrosa who will play for NorthEast United FC.
"He's a good friend of mine and I spoke with him only last night. I'm excited to play for ATK, and the challenges ahead, hope to add value to the team and enjoy every moment of my stay here.
"It is an honour for me to play for ATK. I hope I can do well and will try and share my experience with the younger players here," the 33-year-old said. Asked if he had followed the defending champions last season, Postiga said, "I did not see them live, but yes I watched a few games and few minutes of the final."