Thursday, September 7, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo says fans don’t have to hate Lionel Messi despite history-making rivalry

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken about his relationship with Lionel Messi and insisted their great rivalry is now finally over.

Both have changed the history of football over the course of 15 years, getting their hands on 12 Ballons d’Or between them in that period.

The pair have won 79 trophies between them and 12 Ballon d’OrsRex

Their footballing rivalry came to its pinnacle hen Ronaldo was plying his trade with Real Madrid and Messi at Barcelona.

Ronaldo would go to play for Juventus after his time in the Spanish capital, with Messi later joining Paris Saint-Germain.

Both are now gracing the game in different continents, with Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League and Messi in the MLS, respectively – suggesting further meetings at club level are highly unlikely.

And Al Nassr skipper Ronaldo believes supporters should just enjoy the football the duo are still playing and not take sides in debates about the two.

“I don’t see things like that, the rivalry is gone,” Ronaldo said.

“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.

“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 and Messi rivalry took off during their time at Real Madrid and Barcelonagetty

The ‘who is better?’ debate will certainly never diegetty

Both have managed 79 trophies between then, and are the only two stars to net over 800 goals.

Ronaldo recently scored his 850th for Al Nassr against Al-Hazm on Saturday.

“It’s a historic landmark,” the 38-year-old said.

“For me it was a source of pride the numbers I achieved, which I didn’t think I could reach.

“But I want more. While playing the game, the bar has to be high, thinking big.”

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