Ronaldo on Messi: ‘I never saw him as a rival’

Ronaldo on Messi: ‘I never saw him as a rival’

Cristiano Ronaldo said he has always got on well with Lionel Messi and never saw him as a rival after scoring twice in Juventus’ 3-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Ronaldo, 35, scored two penalties as the Italian champions ended Barca’s 38-game unbeaten run at home in Europe to reach the last 16 as group winners. Barca progress as runners-up.

It was the first meeting between Ronaldo and Messi in more than two years, since the Portuguese forward left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

“I have always had a cordial relationship with Messi,” Ronaldo told Movistar after the game. “As I have said before, for 12, 13, 14 years [I have been] sharing prizes with him.

“I never saw him as a rival. He always tried the best for his team, and I tried the best for mine. I always got on well with him. I am sure he will say the same if you ask him.

“But we know in football, people always look for a rivalry to create more excitement.”

Messi, 33, and Ronaldo, who between them have won the Ballon d’Or in 11 of the past 12 years, came to define the Clasico rivalry between Barca and Real Madrid over the past decade.

However, both find themselves in the latter stages of their careers now, and their respective sides have made below-par starts to their league campaigns domestically.

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