Cristiano Ronaldo has given his personal take on the eternal rivalry between himself and Lionel Messi, stating that the difference between the record-breaking pair is that the Portuguese has won the Champions League with more than one club.
The debate over who is better – either currently or indeed of all time – reached boiling point during the duo's shared time in Spain, with Real Madrid and Barcelona fans at odds over which of the world-class stars should be named the best.
A total of five Ballons d'Or each does little to help separate the attackers, but with Messi having spent his entire senior career at Barcelona, Ronaldo hinted that he perhaps puts himself ahead of the Argentine due to his ability to adapt to new surroundings.
“In the case of Messi, he is an excellent player,” Ronaldo said in DAZN's series The Making Of.
“Not only for the Ballons d'Or he has won but for also being a player who was always at the top year after year, just like me.
“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.”
Every athlete has moments that define their career. #DAZN gives fans an in-depth look of the games that defined the careers of @neymarjr @Cristiano and José Mourinho in the new #DAZNOriginals, The Making Of. pic.twitter.com/JCLcDig6mA— DAZN (@daznglobal) August 1, 2019
Regardless, Ronaldo continues to harbour great respect for Messi, making it clear that sustained success over a ten-year period for both players should be appreciated for the huge amount of hard work that it takes to stay at the top.
“Obviously, I have not seen such a rivalry between two players at the top of the mountain for so many years,” the Portugal captain added.
“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. 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.”