Cristiano Ronaldo discusses Lionel Messi rivalry as he eyes sixth Ballon d'Or

By Mirror: Tuesday, October 29th 2019 at 11:51 GMT +3 | Football
Cristiano Ronaldo has discussed his "healthy rivalry" with Lionel Messi. [Courtesy]

 

Cristiano Ronaldo claims he has a "healthy rivalry" with Lionel Messi - but says he felt his presence more when they were La Liga rivals.

The pair were at the forefront of the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid before Ronaldo ditched Spain to join Juventus in 2018.

Ronaldo won four of his five Ballon d'Or crowns as a Real Madrid player between 2009 and 2018, during which time he dominated the individual accolade alongside Messi.

Their run of dominance came to an end last year after Ronaldo's Real Madrid exit as former team-mate Luka Modric beat them both to the crown.

And Ronaldo admits playing in the same league made both himself and Messi better as he opened up on their competition.

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"A lot of people said that we fed each other, that being together in Spain made us better," Ronaldo told France Football .

"That's certainly true, I felt his presence more in Madrid than in Manchester.

"It was a healthy rivalry.

"We were the symbols of our clubs.

"I think he said recently that he missed me on a competitive level."

The pair spent nearly a decade at the centre of the Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry. [Courtesy]

Both superstars are in contention for a historic sixth Ballon d'Or in December having been named on France Football's shortlist, with Messi considered the main threat to favourite Virgil van Dijk.

But Ronaldo's exclusive interview with the magazine has prompted speculation in Italy he is now emerging as a real contender to lift the iconic Golden Ball.

Discussing his status amongst the greatest of all-time, Ronaldo added: "It's always nice to be spoken of in a flattering way.

"It's nice if they say I've been the best, a fantastic player.

"Today I hear everything they say about me, but when it's all over, at the end of my career, I won't mind because I'll disconnect from everything."

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