Cristiano Ronaldo, the renowned Portuguese forward, has officially put an end to the long-standing rivalry with Argentine sensation Lionel Messi. Speaking at a press conference in Oeiras, just outside Lisbon, prior to a national team training session for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers, Ronaldo made a noteworthy announcement that the era of rivalry was over.
The fierce competition between Messi and Ronaldo had spanned an impressive 15 years, starting back in 2008 when Ronaldo clinched his first Ballon d’Or, followed closely by Messi’s inaugural win in 2009. Over this period, only two other footballers, Luka Modric in 2018 and Karim Benzema in 2022, managed to break their stronghold on the prestigious individual football award.
Ronaldo remarked, “I no longer view our relationship in that light; the rivalry is a thing of the past. It was a healthy competition, much appreciated by the fans. Whether you’re a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, there’s no need for animosity, as both are exceptionally talented players. Together, we’ve made significant contributions to the history of football, and we’ll continue to do so. Our global respect is what truly matters.”
He continued, “Messi charts his own course, and I follow mine, even when we’re playing on different continents. From what I’ve observed, he’s been doing exceptionally well, and so have I. It’s about pushing forward; our legacies endure.”
Ronaldo emphasized, “I’ve consistently maintained that there’s no rivalry. We’ve shared the footballing stage for 15 years, and while I wouldn’t say we’re friends in the traditional sense, we are professional colleagues who hold deep mutual respect for each other.”