Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo has settled the longtime rivalry debate between him and Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, saying the rivalry between them is over.
Ronaldo and Messi stayed at the top of the football for 15 years, dating back to when Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or in 2008 and Messi his first in 2009.
There have been only two winners other than the two to lift the most coveted individual trophy in football since then – Luka Modric in 2018 and Karim Benzema in 2022.
Both men have left Europe; Ronaldo, 38, moved to Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League in January, while the 2022 World Cup winner moved to Inter Miami in the MLS in July.
“If you like Cristiano, you are not obligated to dislike Messi, We’ve both changed the history of football and are respected,” Ronaldo said during Portugal’s press conference.
“The rivalry between us is over.”
“We shared the stage for 15 years. I’m not saying we’re friends, but we respect each other,” he added.