Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that Lionel Messi made him a better player.
Both players who have five Ballon d’Ors each, are regarded among the greatest footballers in the world.
The Juventus forward and the Barcelona superstar are still battling for their sixth Ballon d’Or title, but Ronaldo has admitted that he would have struggled to be a top player if not for the ‘healthy rivalry’ between himself and Messi.
‘I have no doubt that Messi has made me a better player and vice-versa,’ he told Portuguese channel TV1.
‘When I am winning trophies it must sting him and it’s the same for me when he wins.
‘I really admire the career he [Messi] has had and from his side, he has already talked of the disappointment when I left Spain because it was a rivalry that he appreciated.
‘It’s a good rivalry but it’s not unique – Michael Jordan had rivalries in basketball, there was Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in Formula 1. The thing they all had in common is that they were healthy rivalries.’
And he insists that he can see that blossoming when the pair finally hang up their boots.
‘I have an excellent professional relationship [with Messi] because we have been sharing the same moments for 15 years,’ he said.
‘We’ve never had dinner together but I don’t see why we can’t in the future. I don’t see a problem with that.’