Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the stage in world football for well over a decade but the superstar pair’s approaches to being considered the greatest ever suggest a big difference
While Messi has been less publicly concerned about being regarded as the very best, Ronaldo has long considered himself the greatest of all-time.
Meanwhile, though, in the aftermath of winning his seventh Ballon d’Or award, Messi has shown his contrasting nature.
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In an interview with France Football, via AS, the 34-year-old was asked if he considers himself the best ever and gave a characteristically humble response.
“I never said I’m the best in history nor do I try to push that perception myself,” the Paris Saint-Germain superstar revealed.
“For me, being considered by others as one of the best in history is more than enough.
“It’s something I would never have imagined. It’s something that doesn’t interest me, it doesn’t change anything whether I’m considered the best or not.
“And I never wanted to be.”
Messi now has two more Ballons d’Or than arch-rival Ronaldo, who has five.
“I always wanted to surpass myself and not look at what others were doing,” he explained.
“With Cristiano we kept our battle going within the same league for years. It has been wonderful and has helped us both to grow in our careers.
“But without looking at each other. I just wanted to surpass myself, to be the best I could be, and not better than any other.”
But Ronaldo is seemingly much more militant than the Barcelona legend, with Cassano revealing he messaged him to confront him over his claims that there is only one Ronaldo – the former Brazil striker Nazario – and that Messi is better.
Speaking on Bobo TV, the Italian said: “The other day, after Bobo TV, I saw a text from a Spanish number.
“Four long texts. Let’s see if he [Ronaldo] confirms it because I also forwarded them to Gigi [Buffon], who told me he had given my number to Cristiano.
“He told me that I had to respect him, I had to respect the goals he had scored, what he had won and what he represents.
“I fear nobody and I replied to him writing that I had just said the truth: there is only one Ronaldo and Messi is better than him.
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“He [Ronaldo] continued saying that he has money. He scored more many goals in his career, while I had only scored 150.
“Cristiano has everything in life. He should take it easy and be relaxed rather than see what people say about him. He should be like Messi and be more relaxed.
“This is the truth, I called Buffon and told him too, I told Giorgio Chiellini as well. I’ve never disrespected him, as a man or as a footballer.
“I don’t like him, there are 50 players I like more than he, so what?”