Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo reflected on his famous rivalry with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, claiming the biggest difference between the pair is that Ronaldo has achived sustained success at multiple clubs.
Speaking exclusively to DAZN Canada, Ronaldo praised the Argentinian before offering his opinion on what sets the two players apart.
“In the case of Messi, he is an excellent player, who will go down in history, not only for the golden balls he has won, but also for being a player who was always at the top, year after year, just like me,” Ronaldo said.
“The difference with me is that I’ve played for different clubs and I also won the Champions League with different clubs. I was the top scorer in the Champions League six times in a row.”
In a decorated football career that will be considered one of the greatest of all time, Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times – once with Manchester United and four times with Real Madrid.
In that time the Portuguese has amassed 127 goals in 168 appearances, a return of 75 percent.
Leaving out the 55 matches Ronaldo played for United, his Europe goals record improves to a phenomenal 111 goals from 110 matches at a return of more than a goal a game.
Messi, by way of comparison, has won the competition four times with Barcelona, with a similarly astounding record of 112 goals from 135 matches at 82 percent.
“I have not seen such a rivalry between two players at the top of the mountain for so many years,” Ronaldo said. “There are great players that I respect who have three, four or at most, five years at their peak. Ten years? I’ve never seen that.
“I have never seen players, as we say in Portugal, ‘breaking stones every year,’ scoring 40 or 50 goals, winning titles, always being up there.
“This is the hardest thing to achieve in football. It takes a lot to keep up and always be on top.”
Having praised the level of sustained success both he and Messi have enjoyed, Ronaldo made a reference to the one thing that sets the celebrated modern pair apart from football’s other legends.
“This fit, slender body did not fall from the sky! I say it jokingly, but it’s true, there’s a lot of work behind the trophies.”