Cristiano Ronaldo has made a public statement about his long-standing rivalry with Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018, admits he has a high degree of respect for the Barcelona talisman.
However, heated arguments about who is a better player between Messi and Ronaldo will never end among lovers of the round leather game although both football legends no longer play in the same league.
Interestingly, Ronaldo has never been shy of fueling the discussion with claims of being “the best”.
The Portugal international footballer believes he was the main reason Messi upgraded his club and international football career.
In his interview with TV1, CR7 said his presence in La Liga boosted the Argentine’s overall performance, adding that without him, the Barca forward would never have counted among football legends.
‘I helped him [Messi] improve a lot,’ Ronaldo said.
‘There’s no doubt too, that he made me a player…I was a source of inspiration to him and everyone knows that…When he sees me winning trophies, you can be sure that it must hurt him—the same way it hurts me when he does the same.’
Ronaldo continued, ‘Messi has had a wonderful career with Barcelona—I really admire him…He too, has confessed his disappointment about my exit from Spain because he loved the competition between us.’
The former Manchester United talked about their most memorable sporting duels, adding that he will—someday—have dinner with Messi.
‘My relationship with Messi has been excellent—but on the professional side…We shared similar moments for about 15 years…Though we haven’t had dinner for the first time, I don’t see any reason why we can’t hang out in the future.’
Yet, Ronaldo stated that such rivalries are common in sport and should be embraced with a positive mind.
‘The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry is a good one, but it’s not unique,’ he said. ‘Michael Jordan found inspiration in it…Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost had a taste of it in Formula 1, too…Sportsmen help each other perform better through healthy rivalries.’