Messi opens up on ‘special duel’ with Ronaldo
Lionel Messi has said his “special duel” with Cristiano Ronaldo will be remembered “forever”.
Messi was an ever-present figurehead for Barcelona during Ronaldo’s time at Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018, with the duo’s rivalry adding another layer to the intrigue of El Clasico.
The pair have gone on to win 11 of the past 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them, with Luka Modric the only player to break their stranglehold.
And though Ronaldo swapped Real for Juventus two years ago, Messi believes the longevity of their battle in Spain made their meetings extra special.
"It was a special duel and it will remain [in people's minds] forever, because it lasted for many years and it is not easy to maintain such levels for a long time. Plus, the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barca, the two best teams in the world," Messi told La Liga on DAZN.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid helps Lionel Messi of BarcelonaGetty Images
" Competing on an equal footing for so many years, I think it will remain [in people's minds] forever. The sporting duel between us was very nice on a personal level and I think people had fun too, whether they were fans of Madrid or Barca, or even only football fans in general."
"Obviously, when Cristiano was at Real Madrid, the matches were always special.
"The matches against Real always mean a lot, but when Cristiano was there they became much more special.
"But it's a time that has passed now, that we have experienced. Now, we have to look ahead to the future."