Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo insists his ‘healthy rivalry’ with Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi in La Liga helped him become the player he is now
During Ronaldo’s nine-year spell at Real Madrid, the two have been involved in one of the most famous rivalries in the history of football, with the two arch-rivals spearheading the two of the biggest clubs on the planet, setting numerous records along the way.
The Portuguese forward is currently deadlocked with his arch-nemesis at five Ballon d’Or wins apiece, with the two dominating the voting for ten successive years before Luka Modric grabbed the prize last year.
Widely regarded as the best football players of all time, Ronaldo and Messi have 922 goals scored between them during their nine-year La Liga contest.
However, after Ronaldo left Real to join the perennial Serie A champions Juventus in summer 2018, his on-field rivalry with Messi officially ended.
Cristiano has acknowledged his ever so present contest with his Argentinean counterpart helped him become a better player.
“A lot of people said that we fed each other, that being together in Spain made us better,” he told France Football, as reported by the Daily Star.
“That’s certainly true. I felt his presence more in Madrid than in Manchester. It was a healthy rivalry. We were the symbols of our clubs.
“It’s always nice to be spoken of in a flattering way. It’s nice if they say I’ve been the best, a fantastic player.
“Today, I hear everything they say about me, but when it’s all over, at the end of my career, I won’t mind because I’ll disconnect from everything.”
With both of them entering the autumn of their playing careers, their legacy will be left standing long after they leave the football pitch for good.