Rivaldo has claimed he would win the Ballon d’Or three times if he was at his peak in the current era.
The Brazil great was crowned the world’s best player in 1999, but Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have since won the award seven times between them in as many years.
However, Rivaldo believes their domination of the game is evidence of a decline in quality at the top level.
“Football today is very different from before,” he said.
“If my time was today, I’d bet with anyone that I would be the best player in the world two or three times. I’m sure I would score 50 goals per season.
“The quality was much better before, in Brazil and worldwide, such as in Spain and Italy. You see how football is not good when [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the best today, are scoring 50 goals in the championship.
“This shows that the level [of football] is lower. Even for the best in the world, you should not being scored 50 goals in 38 games.”
Rivaldo, 43, recently came out of retirement for Brazilian club Mogi Mirim last month, who play in the nation’s second tier.
The forward is president of the team but justified his decision to return by setting up his son Rivaldinho in a 3-1 win over Macae.