Lionel Messi says his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo was positive for both players during their careers.
Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or award on Monday after guiding Argentina to World Cup glory. Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo also has won five Ballon d’Or awards and is the top goalscorer in footballing history.
In an interview with L’Equipe, Messi explained that he and Cristiano Ronaldo “fed off each other’s rivalry” during their incredible careers.
“It was a great battle, from a sporting point of view. We fed off each other’s rivalry because we’re both great competitors. He, too, always wanted to win everything, all the time,” the Inter Miami star said.
Messi plays for MLS side Inter Miami and Ronaldo is starring for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. However, they won a combined 12 La Liga titles, and eight UEFA Champions Leagues during their time in Spanish football.
Messi added: “It was a very enjoyable time for both of us and for everyone who loves football.
“I think we deserve a lot of credit for having managed to stay at the top for so long. Because as they say, it’s easy to get there. What’s difficult is staying there. And we stayed at the top for ten, fifteen years. It’s very difficult to stay at that level and it’s spectacular. And I think it remains a good memory for all those who followed us.”