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Lionel Messi opens up on finally getting 'beautiful feeling' that Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed for years

John McDougall

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Lionel Messi opens up on finally getting 'beautiful feeling' that Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed for years

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of, if not the, greatest players of all time - that much is beyond question.

Of course, the debate as to whom is better will likely rage on until the end of time.

Regardless of who you think is the best, there is no question it has been quite an era to live through what many regard at the two GOATs.

Messi spent the bulk of his career with Barcelona before a two-year stint with Paris Saint-Germain, and moved to the MLS to play for Inter Miami over the summer.

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Ronaldo meanwhile began at Sporting before moving to Manchester United where he became a world star, with a decade at Real Madrid seeing him take on Messi and Barcelona on a regular basis.

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After a spell at Juventus and a second stint with United, Ronaldo moved last year to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr following his departure from Old Trafford.

Both Ronaldo and Messi have had massive success at club level with league titles and Champions League winners' medals, with a remarkable 13 Ballon d'Ors between them.

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Often what has been cited as a key difference for several years had been Ronaldo's success on the international front with Portugal with the Euro 2016 triumph and the UEFA Nations League victory.

However, that key difference ended last winter when Messi and Argentina beat France on penalties after a 3-3 draw as the South American nation won its third World Cup title.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. (Credit: Getty)
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. (Credit: Getty)

And Messi has now reflected on that victory a year on from the success in Qatar.

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But the adoration he now receives from the Argentine public was not always what it had been, with fans in his home nation not having the affection for Messi that those at Barcelona had for the 36-year-old.

He is now relieved to have the adoration of the overwhelming number of Argentinians, admitting it is a 'beautiful feeling'.

Speaking on the Champions, a Year Later special on Disney Star+ (via ESPN), Messi said: "I had a bad time. My family and the people who love me did too. They [critics in Argentina] were very unfair to a generation of players and they said a lot of bad things about me. I'm not spiteful.

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"I feel it like a triumph for me to have changed that situation and won over all the people of Argentina. Today 95 per cent or 100 per cent of Argentines love me and that's a beautiful feeling.

"I didn't question why they [some Argentina fans] didn't want me. I saw how they attacked me from many places. I was living in two opposite realities. In Barcelona, winning often and having full support, love and respect from everyone. In Argentina, it was a totally different situation with criticism everywhere.

"If you put in the effort, sacrifice, work, and humility, in the end, you achieve your goals. The road can be hard, but you have to keep fighting for your dreams to try to achieve them.

"I always loved playing football, coming to the national team, and being on the field but I never enjoyed it like today."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA Club World Cup, Lionel Messi, Portugal, Football, Inter Miami

John McDougall
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