Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi has praised his bitter rival Cristiano Ronaldo as ‘one of the best’ players today after the Portuguese helped Real Madrid retain the Champions League trophy.
Ronaldo was the star man as Real Madrid defended the Champions League last week to add to their La Liga success in what has been a record-breaking season for Los Blancos.
Messi, on the other hand, has had a good season on individual level but only has a Copa del Rey medal to add to his collection.
In his Thursday interview with Tencent Sports of China, the Argentine was respectful enough to acknowledge his rival’s accomplishments, praising the Portuguese as a phenomenal player who improves year after year.
“That thing about our rivalry is something more invented by the press than by us,” Messi said.
“What we want is to do our best every year, to do the best for our teams and what is spoken from outside is not something I give importance to.
“He is a phenomenal player who has many qualities that year after year he improves and that is why he is one of the best in the world.”
“He’s a phenomenal player who has many qualities that year after year he improves, he’s one of the best.”
– Leo Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo. pic.twitter.com/Wi0uWGBqey
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) 8 June 2017
Messi’s comments come just one week after Ronaldo expressed similar sentiments about the Argentine, saying that he “enjoys watching great player Messi, who is a companion not a rival”.
According to both players, their fabled rivalry is instigated by the press and not by themselves.