The Barcelona star has spoken about his nine years of intense rivalry with Ronaldo, saying he wishes the Portuguese were still at Real Madrid.
For nine seasons the two greatest players of their generation shared an intense rivalry in Spain’s premier division: Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
But last summer signalled the end of a beautiful era for Spanish football with Ronaldo’s 113-million-euro move to Juventus. The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry that had added extra spice to the already heated Clásico encounter for nine years was to be no more from the start of this season.
Indeed Real Madrid fans are not the only ones that miss the Portuguese star. In an interview on network Club 947FM, Messi has also expressed that he misses having Ronaldo in Spain, despite the difficulties he caused him.
“It was nice playing against Cristiano even if it was difficult” recalled Messi, “I enjoyed winning cups when he was at Madrid. It would be nice if he were still there.”
Messi: Juventus a better team with Ronaldo
As expected, Ronaldo has lit up Serie A since his arrival in Turin and made Juventus one of the clear favourites for the Champions League, in which he scored a hat-trick in The Old Lady’s last outing against Atlético Madrid to secure their passage to the quarter final.
The former Madrid striker has so far netted 24 goals in 36 games across all competitions, in what has been a near-perfect first season at his new club.
Messi also acknowledged the impact of Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus in the Club 947FM interview, saying: “I have a lot of respect for Juventus; I think they are a very strong team, with very good players – and with the arrival of Cristiano, even more so. With the victory against Atletico de Madrid they’ve got a big advantage. But I hope we can be there too".
Asked about the best player in the world, Messi put himself and Ronaldo above the rest of the contenders: "Today, there are very good players, Neymar, Mbappé, Suárez, Hazard, any of them could be the best in the world. But I took Cristiano of that group and put him with me.”