What did Lionel Messi have to say on rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo following 8th Ballon d’Or victory?

There had never been a time in football when two players were so equally matched in terms of hunger for success and individual brilliance until, of course, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The pair dominated football for over a decade and a half with their respective clubs, but the real rivalry truly started when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid.

Years later, 13 Ballon d’Or awards have been shared between them, with Lionel Messi standing tall with an astonishing eight to his name. After his latest award victory a few days ago, Messi responded when asked to comment on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo and applauded how long they both dominated the game.

What did Lionel Messi say on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo?

Nothing is certain in life, but one thing is almost certain – the Messi-Ronaldo GOAT debate will outlive both players’ playing days. They’ve been battling it out since 2008, and when Messi wrapped up his 8th Ballon d’Or, the last of the 13 Golden Balls shared between them, he took a moment to acknowledge how the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry helped both players stay at the top for a long time.

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Source: Evening Standard

“It was a great battle, from a sporting point of view,” Lionel Messi said. “We fed off each other’s rivalry because we were both great competitors. I think we deserve a lot of credit for having managed to stay at the top for so long,” the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner told L’Equipe.

Ronaldo also talked about his eternal rival a few months ago at a press conference when he declared their rivalry was over. “We are respected all over the world, that’s the most important thing,” Ronaldo said.

“He makes his way, I make mine, even if we are playing outside of Europe. He’s done well, from what I’ve seen. It’s about continuing; the legacy continues. Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t have to hate Messi. I don’t see the rivalry like that. The rivalry is gone. It was good, the spectators liked it. We shared the stage for 15 years and ended up being, I’m not saying, friends, but we are professional colleagues, and we respect each other,” he concluded.

Ronaldo’s statement about the rivalry being over proved untrue as the Portuguese star reacted mockingly to a post criticizing Lionel Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or award. In the video, a journalist claimed only five of Messi’s eight Ballon d’Or trophies were truly deserving. He also claimed the Argentine took one from Haaland, Lewandowski, and Xavi or Iniesta.

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Source: X (formerly Twitter)

Ronaldo reacted to the video by liking and commenting with several emojis of laughter, shocking the soccer community entirely.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi head-to-head at Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had a great run in the Ballon d’Or podium for over a decade. The run started with Ronaldo picking up the first in 2008 after a record-breaking season with Manchester United. Messi then picked his first in 2009 and went on an incredible run, winning the next three Ballon d’Or awards until 2012.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the top of global football when he claimed the award consecutively in 2013 and 2014. Messi won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2015 before Cristiano Ronaldo won it twice again in 2016 and 2017. This was the last time Ronaldo won the award, ending a remarkable run at the summit of global football.

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Source: Sports Brief

Luka Modric picked up the award in 2018, making him the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win it in the past decade. Messi won again in 2019, 2021, and most recently, 2023.

Messi, who now plays in the MLS, is enjoying his off-season after penning an emotional message to Inter Miami fans, debunking any rumors of a loan return to Barcelona. He received a warm welcome tribute from his Miami teammates after his Ballon d’Or glory.

Will this be Messi’s last Ballon d’Or?


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