Carlo Ancelotti feels Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi need each other
Ancelotti gives his insight on how Ronaldo and Messi push each other to give their best.
The Italian has just taken over as manager of Bayern Munich, replacing Pep Guardiola and gave his thoughts on the two players that have won a stunning 8 World Player of the year awards between them.
Ancelotti had a successful spell at Madrid, even though he had to depart unceremoniously in spite of winning their much coveted 10th Champions League title.
"I always get asked about Lionel Messi and how Cristiano regards him," Ancelotti, wrote in The Telegraph. "The truth is, we did not spend all our days at Madrid talking about Messi.
"Cristiano respects Messi; he respects him a lot. In a way, I think they need one another. Each one pushes the other to new heights, to new records of goalscoring.
"Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in 2003 and played his first international tournament in 2004. Twelve years on he is still the biggest European star. That's incredible.”
"Were it not for the other, one of Cristiano or Messi would probably have won the Ballon d'Or eight times, rather than three for one and five for the other. Or perhaps they would not have flown so high without the other pushing them on.
“As a manager, it was a pleasure to be in charge of Ronaldo. He wanted to play every week and he wanted to score every week. I never went to bed the night before a match worrying about whether he was going to be ready."
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Ronaldo cares about Portugal: Ancelotti
The Portuguese star struggled in the first two group stage matches for Portugal in the ongoing European Championships but scored a brace against Hungary that ended up being critical in inching Portugal into the knockout stage.
"He cares a lot about Portugal. You can see that he never swerves a game," the former Milan and Chelsea manager added.
"His best friends in the dressing room when I was there [at Madrid] were the other Portuguese players, Pepe, and Fabio Coentrao. If he was Spanish he would have won two European Championships and a World Cup by now, perhaps even more.
"Playing for Portugal is fundamental to him. He would like to win something on the international stage, but very few do, and if it does not work out – well, that happens.
"The point is that he showed his country that he cares about Portugal, that it matters to him as much as anything else. Sometimes, as a great player you have to be happy with that and that alone. It is not like you can change your country, even if you wanted to."
Cristiano will be keen to do all he can to help Portugal enter the quarterfinals against a technically skilled and well drilled Croatia side while Messi will be desperate to win his first international trophy with Argentina against Chile in the Copa America Final on Monday.