Cristiano Ronaldo recently spoke about his longstanding rivalry with Lionel Messi, expressing nostalgia as he reflected on their careers. The Portuguese superstar, currently playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, was asked about Messi’s performance in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami. Despite the rivalry, Ronaldo showed great respect towards Messi, emphasizing that fans can appreciate both players without having to choose between them.
Ronaldo’s response also showcased his characteristic self-praise, referring to himself in the third person. He stated that the rivalry between him and Messi is now over, but it was a healthy competition that was enjoyed by spectators. Ronaldo acknowledged the impact they have had on the history of football and the continuous effect they still have. He emphasized that they are both respected worldwide, even as they play outside of Europe. Although they are not close friends, Ronaldo described their relationship as professional colleagues who have mutual respect for each other.
However, the debate about who is the greatest of all time (GOAT) will persist. Ronaldo and Messi have different playing styles and have dominated the sport in their own unique ways. While Messi embodies Barcelona with his cerebral talent, Ronaldo epitomized Real Madrid with his mechanical skill. Despite their differences, both players deserve admiration for their contributions to the game. Fans do not have to choose one over the other, but most people inevitably will. This ongoing comparison and contrast of the two players is what makes their rivalry so captivating.
The fact that Ronaldo and Messi have coexisted and excelled simultaneously is unprecedented. Unlike other historical GOAT candidates like Pele and Diego Maradona who did not overlap, Ronaldo and Messi continue to play at the highest level. Comparing and contrasting them becomes inevitable due to the extraordinary circumstances. It is akin to having Tom Brady and Joe Montana playing in the same era, making it difficult to pick a favorite. However, fans can simply appreciate the enjoyment of witnessing these two incredible players as they conclude their illustrious careers on opposite sides of the globe.