Ronaldo: It is a privilege to play against Messi

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Cristiano Ronaldo has lauded Lionel Messi and has said it is always a ‘privilege’ to play against the Barcelona superstar, as the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry continues to become more cordial.

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Ronaldo, 35, scored twice as Juventus beat Barcelona 3-0 on Tuesday to finish above Barca and seal top spot in UEFA Champions League Group G on the final day of the group stage campaign.

The Portuguese superstar was asked about his ‘rivalry’ with Messi, 33, as the duo square off once again, and here was Ronaldo’s response to Movistar.

“Leo and me shared the last twelve, thirteen or fourteen years of our lives,” Ronaldo said. “I’ve always had a cordial relationship with him, I never saw him as a rival. It’s the press that creates the rivalry. If you ask Leo, he’ll tell you the same thing. It’s always beautiful to play against him. Obviously people will talk about our rivalry when we meet, but for me it’s just a great privilege.

“I faced him while with Manchester United, with Real Madrid and now with Juventus. As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy about my goals and for me, managing to score is always the source of greater joys. Maybe it’s even better when I play against the team which he is playing in.”

The softening of the Ronaldo – Messi rivalry has been lovely to watch over the last few years.

Close relationship after their careers?

After being compared constantly for over a decade, Ronaldo and Messi will have plenty more in common than many expected.

The duo will go down in history as two of the greatest to ever play the game and it has been so unique to see them going head-to-head in such different ways at the same time.

Diego Maradona and Pele didn’t overlap, but later in life they became friends as they appreciated the greatness one another had on the pitch. Messi and Ronaldo have been doing that more often in public in recent years, even though people will forever debate which player was better.

We’re looking forward to seeing a documentary of Ronaldo and Messi having a beer on the beach at a future World Cup and discussing who they thought was better. In a very civilized and friendly manner, of course.