Brazil’s two-time FIFA World Cup winner Ronaldo has lavished praise on Bayern Munich, saying the record Bundesliga champions have a stronger squad than world champions Germany; although he does see Die Nationalmannschaft as favourites to defend their title in Russia this summer…

The 41-year-old, who starred for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid among others in a glittering club career, scored twice for Brazil against Oliver Kahn’s Germany in the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama as the Selecao lifted their record fifth trophy. He retains a keen interest in German football, and thinks Kahn’s former club Bayern currently outstrip even the world champions.

Ronaldo (r.) punishes Oliver Kahn's (l.) parry from Rivaldo's shot to open the scoring in the 2002 World Cup final, in which Brazil beat Germany 2-0. © gettyimages / PHILIPPE HUGUEN

Robert Lewandowski is a very quick player, and that’s good for them,” Ronaldo told Sport Bild. “Bayern have an extraordinary squad. They’re currently stronger than the German national team. I like players who score goals. That’s why I also like Thomas Müller very much. He moves a lot, is often in the right place, and has a strong instinct about where to move and what to do.”

Müller has scored 10 goals across two World Cup finals tournaments, leaving him five behind Ronaldo, who held the record until Miroslav Klose took his own tally to 16 when Germany won their fourth title in Brazil four years ago. Ronaldo was unsurprised by Germany’s success.

“German football does one thing particularly well,” he continued. “They train players from a very early age and give them a chance to play. That’s also true with the national team. Germany is setting the standard. They do what all the other nations should do: train young players and let them play.”

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Whether that means they are guaranteed to defend their title is another matter, though.

“I think Brazil also have a good chance to win again. Even if Neymar is injured and we have to wait and see when he gets fit. Germany are also favourites: the defending champions and always able to put on a great performance. I also think Spain and Argentina are in the running.”

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