Renowned as legendary figures, they frequently encountered one another in Spain’s La Liga while representing Real Madrid and Barcelona. “The utmost importance lies in the worldwide respect we command,” Ronaldo emphasized.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or recipient, has surprisingly been excluded from the shortlist for the first time since 2003, while Messi remains a contender for an eighth victory.
“As he charts his own path, I forge mine. From what I have witnessed, he has performed admirably. It’s a matter of carrying on; the legacy endures,” remarked the 38-year-old Ronaldo, now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr.
When questioned about animosity characterizing their rivalry, he responded, “Those who appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo need not harbor any animosity toward Messi. I do not perceive our rivalry in that manner.
“The rivalry has dissipated. It served its purpose, and spectators relished it. We shared the stage for 15 years and ultimately became, I won’t say friends, but professional colleagues who harbor mutual respect.”
Between them, this extraordinary duo has claimed numerous illustrious accolades that the sport has to offer.
Ronaldo stands as Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer, having netted 451 goals in 438 appearances. During his nine-year tenure at the Bernabeu, he secured 16 trophies, including four Champions League titles, two La Liga triumphs, and two Copa del Rey victories.
Messi, currently representing Inter Miami in the United States, holds Barcelona’s records for most goals and appearances, amassing 674 goals in 781 matches. Throughout his time at the club, the 36-year-old secured 35 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four Champions League triumphs, and seven Copa del Rey conquests.
On the international stage, Messi clinched the 2022 World Cup and a Copa America title with Argentina, while Ronaldo attained victory in a European Championship and a Nations League with Portugal.
The two luminaries have contested each other on the field 36 times, with their most recent encounter transpiring in January. In that match, Messi, then donning the colors of Paris St-Germain, prevailed over Ronaldo’s Riyadh Season XI, securing a 5-4 triumph in a friendly fixture.