Ronaldo: I don’t call Messi names

The Portugal star has been accused of using several nasty nicknames for the Barcelona man in a new book, but has moved quickly to rubbish the allegations

Cristiano Ronaldo has firmly denied calling Barcelona star Lionel Messi several offensive names inside the Real Madrid dressing room.

In a new book by Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, it is claimed Ronaldo has a cold and distant relationship with Messi and often refers to him in the most unflattering language.

However, after learning of the news on Tuesday, the Madrid man moved to quickly reject the story out of hand and insists he would never treat a fellow professional with such disrespect.

Writing on his official Facebook page, he said: “News is circulating that I allegedly made offending remarks regarding Lionel Messi.

“This is absolutely false and I have assured my lawyer takes action to sue those responsible. I have the utmost respect for all my professional colleagues, and Messi is obviously no exception.”

The book also suggests that the 29-year-old’s Madrid team-mates jokingly compare Messi to a dog or puppet kept in one of Ronaldo’s designer bags.

The two players have emerged as the outstanding footballers of their generation in recent years and have won the Ballon d’Or – given to the world’s best player over the previous 12 months – six times between them.

However, despite the respectful manner in which the pair often greet and talk about one another in public, rumours have persisted that they are far from friends, as a result of their personal and club rivalry.

Last month it was the Portugal star who came out on top as Madrid defeated Barcelona 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first Clasico of the season but Messi then struck back by beating his rival to Raul’s record of 71 Champions League goals after scoring twice in the 2-0 victory over Ajax.

Ronaldo is favourite to retain his crown as the world’s best player and win a third Ballon d’Or in January, which would move him to within one of the Argentine’s tally of four.