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  • Nasima Akter

“The rivalry with Messi is over,” says Ronaldo

“The rivalry with Messi is over,” says Ronaldo

The Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi debate has been a source of entertainment for soccer fans for well over a decade. Some fans appreciate both players for their incredible skills and contributions to the sport, while others firmly take sides in favor of one or the other.

According to Cristiano Ronaldo himself, the intense rivalry between him and Lionel Messi has faded away since they both left their European clubs for new adventures – Ronaldo joining Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia and Messi moving to Inter Miami in the US.

“I don’t see things that way, the rivalry is gone. It was good, the fans liked it. Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t have to hate Messi. They’re both very good, they changed football history,” the 38-year-old Ronaldo told reporters while preparing to play in European Championship qualifiers with Portugal.

Ronaldo and Messi spent the peak of their careers playing in Spain, with Ronaldo representing Real Madrid and Messi playing for Barcelona. This period significantly intensified the rivalry between the two players, as well as among their passionate fan bases.

During their time in Spain, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi completely dominated the world of football.

During their tenure in Spain, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo achieved remarkable success. Messi secured four Champions League titles with Barcelona, while Ronaldo left Spanish football with five Champions League titles, including a historic three consecutive wins with Real Madrid from 2016 to 2018. Messi also claimed 10 LaLiga titles during his time at Barcelona, whereas Ronaldo won two with Real Madrid.

In the realm of individual honors, the duo dominated the Ballon d'Or awards, winning 12 out of 13 between 2008 and 2021. Ronaldo earned five, while Messi secured seven.

Furthermore, both players shattered numerous goal-scoring records. Messi concluded his Barcelona career with an astonishing 672 goals in 778 games, while Ronaldo notched an incredible 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid.

“We are respected throughout the world, it’s the most important,” Ronaldo said. “He is following his path, I am following mine. He’s done well, from what I’ve seen. We carry on, the legacy continues, the rivalry – I don’t see it that way.”

He added: “I have said, we shared the stage for 15 years and we ended up, I wouldn’t say friends, but we are colleagues and we respect each other.”

Amidst the trend of several players securing lucrative transfers to football clubs in Saudi Arabia, Cristiano Ronaldo addressed the criticism that has been directed towards the Saudi Pro League (SPL).

“It’s normal to criticize, which league is not criticized? Where aren’t there any problems or controversy?” he queried. Ronaldo also acknowledged that he played a significant role in the league's growth and in attracting other star players to join the Saudi Pro League.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo made his move to Saudi Arabia, a number of other high-profile players, including Neymar, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kanté, Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Marcelo Brozović, have also made the switch to the Saudi Pro League (SPL).

“As an Al-Nassr player, I knew this was going to happen, it is a privilege to change the culture of a country and football, having big names makes me proud. I was a pioneer, and I am proud of that,” Ronaldo outlined.

“What I want is to continue to grow always, may it become world class.”


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