Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been the greatest rivalry in football over the past two decades.
The two stars have long been developing at the highest level, breaking many records along the way.
The duo has been asked about their rivalry several times in the recent past, showing each other varying degrees of respect and appreciation for each other’s extraordinary talents. However, this was not always the case.
Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 2008 after a great year with Manchester United. The year before he won the award, the Portugal international said while working with his national team (via the Daily Mail):
I am first, second and third [meilleur joueur du monde] “.
Ronaldo, who was 23 at the time, said that while Brazilians Kaká, Messi and Fernando Torres were “good candidates”, he was the most deserving of the award.
The following year, he joined Real Madrid for £80 million, a world record at the time. In 2011, the Portuguese and Argentine were at the height of their rivalry, with both stars playing in La Liga.
That year, Cristiano Ronaldo was asked about his rivalry with the Argentine ace in a post-match interview. The former Manchester United star’s reaction led to perhaps his most controversial comment on the subject. He said (via Sports Manor):
“I will not answer the question. Everyone already knows that I am better than Messi.”
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently playing with the Saudi club Al-Nasr, after his contract with Manchester United expired last November. The Portuguese star has played two matches for his new team so far.