Lionel Messi claims his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo has been fabricated by the media and insists the Real Madrid superstar deserves enormous credit for a “phenomenal” season.
It is often claimed that reigning Ballon d’or holder Ronaldo has a tempestuous relationship with his Barcelona rival Messi, with the duo widely recognised as the best footballers on the planet and two of the greatest of all time.
However, after Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to the La Liga and Champions League double, Messi insists his ‘so-called nemesis’ deserves special praise.
Speaking while on international duty with Argentina, Messi admitted he was impressed with Ronaldo’s recent performances.
“He is a phenomenal player who has many qualities that year after year he improves and that is why he is one of the best in the world,” Messi told Tencent Sports.
The 29-year-old also played down the misconception that the duo were bitter rivals.
“That thing about our rivalry is something more invented by the press than by us.
“What we want is to do our best every year, to do the best for our teams and what is spoken from outside is not something I give importance to.”
Ronaldo has been pivotal in Real Madrid’s stellar trophy-winning season, scoring 37 goals in 42 appearances to help the club retain the Champions League and win La Liga for the first time since 2012.