The two have been engaged in a rivalry that has characterised the last fifteen years of football, with each competing for the game’s most coveted individual and team awards. Though the two have acknowledged they aren’t particularly close, their battle has never truly ventured into unfriendly territory, and it is clear that there is a great deal of respect between them, according to the Mirror.
Between them, Messi and Ronaldo have won an incredible 13 Ballon d’Or, with the Argentinean player enjoying eight of those wins after winning the trophy in three of the previous four years. When they were at their best, they both won many Champions League titles while lighting up La Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
Fans have been exposed to some incredible genius moments from both of them over their protracted war for the title of greatest, and their relationship remains stable as a result. In 2020, Ronaldo said in an interview with RMC Sport, “I truly respect Messi’s career to date.”
“He has already said that he had trouble when I left the Spanish league because it is a rivalry that he appreciates. “It is a good rivalry that exists in football, but this is no exception. Michael Jordan had rivals in basketball, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were great rivals in Formula One.”
“The only common point between all the big rivalries in the sport is that they are healthy.”
In the past, Messi has been just as gracious and acknowledged that he relished their sparring matches while they were both in Spain. The 2018 Ballon d’Or adversary of the Portugal captain stated the following after his move to Juventus: “It was nice to play against Cristiano, he made Madrid a stronger side.” As any club would, I predicted at the start of the season that Madrid would miss him.