Lionel Messi news: 'Of course I miss Ronaldo, he made Real Madrid stronger' says Barcelona captain
What's the story?
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has admitted that he misses the healthy rivalry he had with Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga, adding that the Portuguese talisman's presence at Real Madrid made them a much stronger team.
In case you didn't know...
Messi and Ronaldo were a part of football's biggest individual rivalry, with fans across the globe divided on their opinions of the two aces.
The talismanic duo has reached unprecedented heights in the game, winning a host of titles for Barcelona and Real Madrid while swooping all the individual awards football has to offer. The pair share the record for the most Ballon d'Ors with five awards each.
Last summer, Ronaldo made a shock move to Juventus to try his luck in the Serie A, leaving behind his nine-year association with Los Blancos and his highly-documented rivalry with Messi.
The Argentine remained at Barcelona and recently guided them to a La Liga title in his first season as captain. Meanwhile, Ronaldo became the first player in history to win three of Europe's top five leagues after the Old Lady lifted their eighth consecutive Serie A title.
The heart of the matter
In a recent interview with Fox Sports Argentina, Messi opened up about the effects of Ronaldo's absence in the Spanish top flight, stating that he misses the relationship he shared with him.
The 31-year-old said, "Of course I miss Ronaldo, he made Real Madrid stronger. I said that they were going to feel the exit of Cristiano, as it would have happened to any team."
"A few people got angry but it’s a reality, he scored 50 goals per season for them and it was a key factor in their success. The whole league misses him now."
On his relationship with the Juventus star, the Argentine said, "It was good for us both, we always wanted to improve ourselves."
"We did not have much of a relationship. We knew each other only from matches and at award ceremonies, but we always had good vibes and often talk too."
While Messi will likely return to action with Argentina in a friendly with Nicaragua this month, Ronaldo will represent Portugal as they face Switzerland in the Nations League next week.