"I'm not a friend with him no... but he's like a teammate" - Cristiano Ronaldo makes interesting claim on 'respect' for arch-rival Lionel Messi

Ronaldo lauds his longtime rival Messi
Ronaldo lauds his longtime rival Messi

Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken fondly of his respect for Argentina captain Lionel Messi.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan interviewed the Manchester United striker - who shed light on his relationship with his longtime rival.

The 37-year-old said (via TalkTV):

"Amazing, player he's top. As a person, we shared the stage for 16 years. I have great relationship with him... I'm not a friend with him no... but he's like a teammate, he's a guy I really respect."
Cristiano Ronaldo: “It’s like Messi is a teammate. He's a guy that I really respect the way he always speaks about me. Even his wife, my girlfriend, they always have respect and they're from Argentina. What can I say about Messi? A great guy who does great things for football.”

The veteran forwards head into their fifth FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar.

The duo has long been one another's nemesis, winning countless honors both personally and for club and country.

Lionel Messi has seven Ballons d'Or to his name, while Cristiano Ronaldo has five.

The Portuguese captain has won the UEFA Champions League on five occasions, while the Argentinian has claimed the trophy four times.

Ronaldo has scored 701 goals and provided 223 assists in 949 appearances across competitions throughout his career.

Messi has scored 700 goals and contributed 332 assists in 846 appearances.

They could meet one another in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final if Argentina and Portugal make it to the final on December 18.

It would be the perfect way for the duo to close the chapter on their rivalry that has been at the forefront of world football for years.

Cristiano Ronaldo on potentially beating Lionel Messi in the final of the FIFA World Cup

The pair could clash in the final at the Lusail Stadium
The pair could clash in the final at the Lusail Stadium

Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he would love to beat Lionel Messi's Argentina in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.

The Portuguese forward heads to his fifth FIFA World Cup with Fernando Santos' side among the strongest teams in the competition.

They start their campaign in Group H with games against Ghana (24 November), Uruguay (28 November), and South Korea (2 December).

It may be the last time Ronaldo and Messi play in the tournament.

Morgan gave the Red Devils forward a scenario in which Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi go toe-to-toe in the final.

In Morgan's scenario, the United forward scores a brace, and so does the Paris Saint-Germain attacker heading into the game's dying embers.

Ronaldo then scores a last-minute winner to secure Portugal their first-ever FIFA World Cup at the expense of his arch-nemesis.

The Portuguese striker responded to Morgan's idealistic scenario by laughing and saying (via TalkTV):

"It's too good..."

He later added:

"I wouldn’t care who scored if Portugal won. I will finish football if this happen."
🎙Piers Morgan: Imagine the World Cup final between Portugal and Argentina and you scored two goals and Messi scored two goals and scored the winning goal and the hat-trick in the 90th minute.. Would this be a dream?🎙u Cristiano: "That would be very good."

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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