‘It was a special duel, and it will remain forever’: Lionel Messi speaks fondly of his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo as he insists people had ‘fun’ watching them compete for ‘two best sides in world’
- Messi and Ronaldo have arguably been the two best players of all-time
- The Barcelona forward branded his rivalry with Ronaldo as eternal
- The pair have shared La Liga and Champions League titles as well as Ballon D’Ors
- Ronaldo left La Liga in 2018 to join Italian side Juventus
But while both Messi and Ronaldo are world-renowned for their competitiveness and desire to win, the former confessed to feeling some satisfaction from the duel.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi (right) enjoyed a fierce rivalry in Spanish football
Speaking to DAZN, Messi said: “It was a special duel and it will remain forever because it lasted many years and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time.
“Plus the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barcelona were the two best teams in the world.”
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for a then-world-record £80 million fee in 2009.
Ronaldo lifted more Champions League trophies than Messi when he played for Real Madrid
RONALDO VS MESSI RIVALRY (2009-2018)
Messi: 472; Ronaldo: 450
Messi: 122; Ronaldo: 95
La Liga Trophies:
Messi: 7; Ronaldo: 2
Champions League Trophies:
Messi: 2; Ronaldo: 4
The Portuguese forward left the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018 for Juventus, having picked up two La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies in the white of Real Madrid.
In that same period, Messi picked up seven Spanish top-flight trophies but only two Champions League triumphs.
The Argentinian also scored 472 times in all competitions for Barcelona between 2009 and 2018, while Ronaldo registered 450 goals for Madrid.
Messi added: “Competing on an equal footing for so many years, I think it will remain forever.
But Messi won five more La Liga titles than Ronaldo and scored more goals in Spain’s top-flight
“The sporting duel between us was very nice on a personal level and I think people had fun too, whether it was from Madrid or from Barca, or even only football fans in general.”
Messi and Ronaldo also competed for personal honours too, with the pair sharing the highly-coveted Ballon D’Or trophy in recent times.
Over the past twelve years, eleven of the Ballon D’Or awards have gone to either Messi or Ronaldo, with the Barcelona forward winning the 2019 edition to claim his sixth award – one ahead of his biggest rival.
The pair have also shared Ballon D’Or trophies between them with Messi leading Ronaldo 6-5
And Messi admitted in December 2019 that having Ronaldo on the same amount of Ballon D’Or wins as him was a painful feeling.
He told France Football: “On the one hand, I appreciated having five and being the only one to do so.
“When Cristiano levelled me, I have to admit that it hurt me a bit. I was no longer alone at the summit.”