Addressing a press conference on Wednesday before training with the national side at Oeiras, on the outskirts of Lisbon, ahead of upcoming European Championship qualifiers, the Al Nassr forward said the “rivalry is over”.
Both Messi and Ronaldo stayed at the top of the football chain for 15 years, dating back to when Ronaldo won his first Ballon d'Or in 2008 and Messi his first in 2009.
Besides the Portuguese and Argentine, there have been only two others to lift the most coveted individual trophy in football since then – Luka Modric in 2018 and Karim Benzema in 2022.
He said, “I don't see things like that; the rivalry is over. It was a healthy rivalry, and the spectators liked it a lot.
“Whoever likes Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't have to hate Messi and vice versa, because they are both very good. We've done well; we have changed the history of football, and we'll keep on doing it. We are respected all over the world; that's the most important thing.
“He makes his way; I make mine, even if we're playing outside Europe. From what I've seen, he has done well, and so have I. It's about continuing; the legacy continues.
“I've said there's no rivalry. We've shared the stage for 15 years, and we ended up being — I wouldn't say friends — because I never dined with him. We are professional colleagues, and we respect each other.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]