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10 things Lionel Messi has said about Cristiano Ronaldo over the years

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably two of the greatest footballers of all time
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably two of the greatest footballers of all time
Bhargav
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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably two of the finest players to have graced the game.

The two have been the epitome of consistency and sustained brilliance, and despite being on the wrong side of 30 continue scoring goals and winning accolades galore for club and country. Messi (6) and Ronaldo (5) have had a decade-long duopoly of the Ballon d'Or award, broken only by Luka Modric in 2018.

Both Messi and Ronaldo did not win a league title last season, but shone for their respective countries in their last major tournament outings. The Portuguese ace scored a joint tournament-leading five goals at Euro 2020 even as Portugal exited in the Round of 16. Messi, meanwhile, registered four goals and five assists at Copa America 2021, where Argentina ended a near three-decade-long title drought.

Though Messi and Ronaldo have never turned up on the same side of the pitch, the two seems to share a cordial relationship with each other. On that note, let's have a look at what Lionel Messi has said about Cristiano Ronaldo over the years.


#10 "It's a very special moment for me, winning another Ballon d'Or, after being in the audience watching Cristiano (Ronaldo) win the last two years (2016)

Lionel Messi poses with his 2015 Ballon d'Or award
Lionel Messi poses with his 2015 Ballon d'Or award

Lionel Messi produced a fabulous 58-goal season in 2014-15 to help Barcelona win their second continental treble in six years. He also won the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup to make it a year to remember.

Considering his exploits during the year, it was no surprise that Lionel Messi won a record-extending fifth Ballon d'Or award to bring to an end the two-year dominance of his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a landslide win for the Argentine, as he tallied more votes than the next two contenders combined - Ronaldo and Neymar.

At the award ceremony, an elated and humble Messi, who scored 52 goals during the year, said:

"It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d'Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win. It's incredible, this is my fifth. It's much more than anything I've dreamed of as a kid. I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and I want to thank my teammates."

Incidentally, Ronaldo scored three more goals than Messi during the year. But his failure to win any trophy for club and country meant that he was never really a contender to win his third straight Ballon d'Or award. As a consolation prize of sorts, both Messi and Ronaldo were selected in the FIFPro XI of the year.


#9 "He is a phenomenal player with a lot of qualities, and that is why he is one of the best in the world." (2017)

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo has racked up astonishing players, especially during his nine-season stint at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo and Messi consistently jostled for the honour of the league's top scorer, with the duo pushing the other to greater heights. After Ronaldo became the first player to score 40 goals in a La Liga season (2010-11), Messi responded with a stunning 50-goal effort the next campaign.

After Barcelona relinquished their La Liga title to Real Madrid in 2017, Messi spoke glowingly about Ronaldo during an interaction with Tencent Sports:

"We try to achieve the best every year for our team, and what is said outside of that I don't think is very important. He is a phenomenal player with a lot of quality. All the world knows, and that is why he is one of the best of the world."

Ronaldo was sublime in the Champions League, where he scored ten goals in the last three rounds to help Real Madrid become the first team in the Champions League to successfully defend their title.


#8 "In all sports, there is always someone who stands out and is admirable for his work. Cristiano (Ronaldo) stands out in football." (2020)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has racked up mind-boggling numbers for club and country during a stellar career spanning nearly two decades.

The 36-year-old, who is the first Juventus player to amass 100 goals in his first three seasons at the club, is the only European player (second overall) to score 100 international goals.

Paying due respect to the exploits of Ronaldo, Messi waxed lyrical about the Portugal captain during an interview with La Sexta. Terming Ronaldo as someone who stands out in football, Messi said:

"There are many admirable athletes. Rafa Nadal, Federer, LeBron - in all sports there is always someone who stands out and is admirable for his work. Cristiano stands out in football. There are many who stand out and always do their best."

Among a multitude of achievements, Ronaldo is the all-time top-scorer for Real Madrid and the joint-most prolific scorer in international football, a mark he achieved at Euro 2020.


#7 "It was a very special duel with Cristiano (Ronaldo) that will remain forever" (2020)

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have amassed records galore in multiple competitions.

They are the only duo to score at least 300 goals in the La Liga and 100 in the Champions League. Both players stand alone in scoring eight hat-tricks in the latter competition, and now both Messi and Ronaldo also have major international titles to their names too, to name a few.

During an interaction with DAZN, Messi acknowledged his 'duels' with Ronaldo, especially when the two played together in the La Liga, saying:

"It was a special duel with Cristiano that will remain forever. It lasted many years, and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time. Our teams were also very demanding: Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two strongest clubs in the world. Competing as equals for so many years is something that will remain forever."

Ronaldo and Messi have met only once after the latter left Spanish shores in the summer of 2018. That happened in a Champions League group-stage game between Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou, where Ronaldo scored a brace to help the Bianconeri to a 3-0 win and win the group.

#6 "Obviously when Cristiano (Ronaldo) played for Real Madrid, the games were special. Now we look forward to today's challenges." (2020)

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi at Camp Nou last year.
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi at Camp Nou last year.

In the same interview with DAZN ahead of his first meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo in two years, Messi said that he enjoyed all the matches against the Portuguese, as they were 'special'.

On being asked if there was a possibility of the two teaming up for the same team, Messi avoided a direct reply and instead said that the duo has moved on to 'different challenges'.

"Obviously when Cristiano played for Real Madrid the games were special, against them they always are, but with Cristiano on the pitch, they had a particular meaning. It is now the past, now we look forward to today's challenges."

On his return to the Camp Nou for the first time since 2018, Ronaldo notched up his first Champions League goal against Barcelona. His brace on the night meant Ronaldo had scored 14 goals of the Blaugrana, the most scored at any away ground in his career.


#5 "It would have been nice if Ronaldo was still here (in Spain)" (2019)

Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018

After nine prolific seasons in Spain, in which he racked up a staggering 450 goals for Real Madrid in all competitions, Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Juventus in the summer of 2018 seeking a new challenge.

Three years later, Ronaldo has been fairly successful in his quest, albeit at an individual level, racking up 100 goals for the Bianconeri and the Capocannoniere award last season.

In his first campaign for the Bianconeri, a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick - a record-tying eighth in the Champions League - Juventus overhauled a two-goal first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid to reach the quarter-finals.

During an interview with Club947FM in 2019, Messi said that the arrival of Ronaldo made Juventus stronger.

“I have a lot of respect for Juventus," said Messi. "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."

Messi also added that he missed his 'difficult' duels with Ronaldo when the latter was at Madrid.

"It was nice playing against Cristiano even if it was difficult. I enjoyed winning cups when he was at Madrid. It would be nice if he were still there."

#4 "Today, there are very good players, any of them could be the best in the world. But I take Cristiano of that group and put him with me.” (2019)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

During the same interaction with Club1947FM in 2019, Messi was asked about who he thought was the best player in the world.

The Argentine replied that there were many claimants to the title like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Luis Suarez and Eden Hazard. But he and Cristiano Ronaldo stood out from the rest.

"Today, there are very good players, Neymar, Mbappe, Suárez, Hazard, any of them could be the best in the world. But I take Cristiano of that group and put him with me.”

#3 “We might not be friends because we’ve never shared a dressing room together, but there’s no problem (between us).” (2019)

Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Lionel Messi

Due to the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have never played for the same team, the duo only 'meet' at award shows like the Ballon d'Or ceremony.

Messi and Ronaldo have made the Ballon d'Or a 'personal' race since the Portuguese won his first award in 2008. Ronaldo has won four more Ballon d'Or awards since then, the last of them coming in 2017, while Messi has racked up a staggering six.

During an interview in 2019, as reported by Barca Times, Messi admitted that he was not 'friends' with Ronaldo. But the Argentine also revealed that he had no 'problems' with the Portuguese, whom he regularly sees at award shows.


#2 "I would accept an invitation for dinner with Ronaldo" (2019)

Cristiano Ronaldo (left) with Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) with Lionel Messi

In the same interview in 2019, as reported by Barca Times, Messi was asked if he would accept a dinner invitation from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentine replied:

“We actually spoke with each other for quite a long time at the most recent show. I don’t know if there will be a dinner because I don’t know if our paths will cross for obvious reasons, each one of us has our own life and our own commitments”.

With Messi a free agent after his contract with Barcelona ran out this summer and Ronaldo's future at Juventus looking uncertain, there is hope, albeit fleeting, that the two superstars might play for the same team in the near future before they hang up their boots.


#1 “If we played together, I think I would pass the ball to him" (2019)

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi

Ronaldo tallied exactly 50 goals in all competitions a season during his nine-season stay with Real Madrid. Considering Ronaldo's stellar exploits for club and country, Messi had no qualms in admitting the Portuguese's predatory instincts.

In an interview with Mundo Deportivo in 2019, as reported by Hindustan Times, Messi said that he would have passed the ball to Ronaldo had the duo played together. He said:

“If we played together, I think I would (have) pass(ed) the ball to him, yes … Real without Ronaldo have lost many goals, but it was obvious it would (have) happened. Not only goals, but Cristiano also brings many other things. If a team loses a player who scored 50 goals per season, it’s noticeable. Real Madrid have great players, but Cristiano scored 50 goals per season."

You may also like: 10 things Cristiano Ronaldo has said about Lionel Messi over the years.

Edited by S Chowdhury
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