Ronaldo downplays significance of rivalry with Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo has downplayed the significance of his rivalry with Lionel Messi and stressed that there is a mutual respect between them, even though the two are not friends.

The Real Madrid star and his Barcelona counterpart have dominated the Ballon d’Or election over the past eight years and they are widely regarded as the two best players in the game.

There is an ongoing debate about who is the better of the pair, but Ronaldo is adamant there is no bitterness between the two.

“There is a big mutual respect between myself and Messi,” the 31-year-old told Coach Magazine. “The media like to make out like we have this big rivalry, but we don’t.

“It is not like we are good friends, but there is a mutual respect on both sides.”

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