Lionel Messi On Cristiano Ronaldo: 'People Think The Rivalry Goes Beyond Football, But It Doesn’t'
Lionel Messi has admitted that his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo has not been hostile and dismissed the idea that their fierce rivalry has moved "beyond football."
The Barcelona superstar, 32, beat Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk and the 34-year-old Ronaldo to be crowned the Best FIFA Men's Player at the Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday.
Both Messi and Ronaldo missed out on the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award to Van Dijk last month, but the Juventus superstar extended an invitation to Messi to have dinner with him sometime.
When the Argentine forward was asked if he was surprised by people's reaction towards them getting along together, he told FIFA: "Because of the big sporting rivalry that's developed between us over the last few years, because one us played for Barcelona and the other for [Real] Madrid, and because we won individual awards.
"People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn't.
"We both want what's best for our teams and neither of us like losing.
"It's something we don't accept.
"That's why there's that competitiveness between us.
"The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch."
The two five-time Ballon d'Or winners were both named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI alongside fellow FIFA Men's Player nominee Van Dijk.
Ronaldo has been heavily criticised after it emerged that he didn't vote for Messi in his top three picks for the FIFA Men's Player.
The Portugal captain named his top three picks as Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Kylian Mbappe.
But Argentina captain Messi had Ronaldo as his second pick for the award, with Liverpool star Sadio Mane first and Barcelona teammate De Jong as his third choice.
Messi also told FIFA that he would target both La Liga and the Champions League with Barcelona this season, along with the hope of securing the Copa America in 2020 with Argentina.
"It's been four years since we've won the Champions League and we really want to win it again," he said.
"We know, though, that if we don't do the job day in day out, then we won't make it.
"And as for the Copa America, I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to go for it yet again.
"I'm really excited about this year's Copa."
Featured Image Credit: PA