"We Are Not Friends But...": Cristiano Ronaldo On Rivalry With Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo feels his rivalry with Lionel Messi has come to an end.
The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi rivalry is all over, with the Portuguese superstar deciding to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr and the Argentine making the switch to Major League Soccer with Inter Miami. Ronaldo and Messi, unarguably two of the biggest names in the game, are past their European adventures, having dominated the game for 15 years. Though Ronaldo and Messi aren't the best of friends, the former feels there's no reason for his fans to hate the latter.
Ronaldo, who continues going strong in the Saudi Pro League, delivered a bitter truth in an interview, saying his rivalry with Messi is 'over'.
"I don't see things like that, the rivalry is gone," Ronaldo told Portuguese news outlet Record. "It was good, spectators liked it. Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don't have to hate Messi and vice versa. We've done well, we have changed the history of football. We are respected all over the world, that's the most important thing."
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star feels both he and Messi have left their legacy in the game, and in this new phase of their careers, they both seem to be doing well.
"He's followed his path and I have followed mine, regardless of playing outside of Europe. From what I've seen, he's been doing well and so have I. The legacy lives on, but I don't see the rivalry like that. We shared the stage many times, it was 15 years. I'm not saying we're friends, I've never had dinner with him, but we're professional colleagues and we respect each other," Ronaldo said.
On the sporting front, however, Messi still seems to be a little ahead of Ronaldo. In the recently released Ballon d'Or 30-man longlist, Messi emerged as one of the favourites for the award that he has already won 7 times. Ronaldo, on the other hand didn't even make it to the list for the first time since 2003.