Cristiano Ronaldo says it is a “great privilege” to play against Lionel Messi and he never considered their relationship as a rivalry.
The two forwards, considered two of the best players of all time, came up against each other once again on Tuesday night in Juventus’ 3-0 win at Barcelona in the Champions League.
The former Manchester United star stole the limelight on this occasion as his brace from the penalty spot helped the Serie A champions overcome the 2-0 loss they suffered to the Catalans in October and claim top spot in Group G due to a superior head-to-head record.
Messi and Ronaldo crossed paths several times from award ceremonies such as the Ballon d’Or to El Clasico showdowns during the Portuguese’s stint at Real Madrid, but the latter insists there’s never been bad blood between them.
“Leo and me shared the last twelve, thirteen or fourteen years of our lives,” he told Movistar after the clash on Tuesday night.
“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.”