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Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he is a big admirer of Lionel Messi's career and how the Barcelona superstar has continued to elevate his performances on the pitch.
Both Juventus superstar Ronaldo and Barca captain Messi have held a heated rivalry on the pitch and are widely regarded as two of the best players of all time.
But Ronaldo, 35, has always dismissed the idea that he and his fierce rival share any animosity off the pitch.
Speaking to RMC Sport, the Portuguese forward said that Messi feels the same way about their rivalry and he missed him after he left Real Madrid in 2018.
"I really admire the career he has had so far," Ronaldo said.
"He has already said that he had trouble when I left the Spanish league because it is a rivalry that he appreciates.
"It is a good rivalry that exists in football, but this is no exception.
"Michael Jordan had rivals in basketball, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were great rivals in Formula One.
"The only common point between all the big rivalries in the sport is that they are healthy."
Messi, who broke his Ballon d'Or deadlock with Ronaldo in 2019, has previously shown his admiration towards the former Madrid star.
The 32-year-old Argentine forward said after Ronaldo's 2018 departure that it was "nice to play against" him and Los Blancos would miss him.
"It was nice to play against Cristiano, he made Madrid a stronger side," Messi said.
"I said at the beginning of the season that Madrid would miss him, as any team would.
"It made a lot of Madrid fans a bit angry but that is the reality. Any team would miss him.
"He scores 50 goals a season and he was the key player for them, of course they were going to miss that."
During the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award last year, the pair sat together at the ceremony and Ronaldo even extended a dinner invitation to Messi.
Featured Image Credit: BT Sport/YouTube
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