So what does Cristiano Ronaldo think of Lionel Messi? Despite the fact that it would be much more interesting for the two best players in the world to hate each other (which maybe they do, on the inside), the Portuguese captain had nothing sensational to add to the equation and the constant debate about who’s better and what their relationship is.
Not friends. Just guys who play against each other 4-6 times a year, shake hands at the start and sometimes, or not, shake hands at the end. A professional relationship, as Ronaldo described it. That’s pretty much what you’d expect.
Ronaldo usually gets the bulk of the questions on the matter. It’s been like this pretty much since 2009, when Barcelona rose from the last two years of the Rijkaard tenure to a evolutionary new age with Pep Guardiola in charge, taking over Spain, Europe and the opinions of pundits and fans in a storm, with Messi leading the charge. Cristiano Ronaldo, who turned in an amazing campaign for Manchester United in 2008 when the Premier League was at the height of its power, was left at second. It’s been that way since then.
Is it how it actually works? Ronaldo simply shrugs. Same questions, same debate for five years. He’s getting tired of it? Probably, but there’s not much he can do. Unless the sport becomes boxing all of a sudden, where we can see a clear and decisive knockout, the debate will still go on. Numbers and statistics can be used in many ways; ability is usually something subjective. Titles don’t always have to do with the individuals on their own but also who was there to help them achieve it.
As long as they continue to play for the two biggest rivals in Spain and Europe, there will be no end. Some people are sick of the comparisons, thinking it takes away too much attention from other players on their teams and around the different leagues. I personally think that it’s just another way to generate interest. A story line within one that’s already the most appealing club match to everyone around the world, only with an added individual rivalry bonus.
This season, Messi has had the slightly better start in the league with 13 goals in 10 matches; Ronaldo is not too far behind with 11 goals. In all competitions, Ronaldo has scored 18 to Messi’s 17. It’s going to stay this close for the rest of the way. Barcelona obviously have the edge, an 8 point lead in the La Liga, which looks almost impossible to erase, although both teams have yet to play Atletico.
One thing worth mentioning. Cristiano Ronaldo made the following comment about Messi 13 months ago: Messi has his personality and I have mine. He has his game and I have mine. I also play in a big club like him. We are different in every aspect. But right now, he is the best. I don’t think Messi has ever said anything similar about Ronaldo, and I doubt he ever will.