The Juventus star is convinced that playing in La Liga side by side with his arch rival pushed him to the lofty heights he attained in football, while acknowledging his ‘healthy rivalry’ with the Barcelona icon.
Cristiano Ronaldo was for close to a decade the face of Real Madrid and he led his team to challenge Lionel Messi and Barcelona for the greatest prizes in football, a situation that brought the best out of the two unrivaled competitors.
Ronaldo only recently hit his 700th goal mark in the game, one of the few records the Portuguese boasts of that the Argentine is still short of, but the former Real Madrid goal machine has now publicly admitted that having Messi to compete with in the same league drove him to become a better player.
“A lot of people said that we fed each other, that being together in Spain made us better,” the Portugal legend said according to quotes obtained by Soccernet.ng from Marca.
“That’s certainly true, I felt his presence more in Madrid than in Manchester.
“It was a healthy rivalry.
“We were the symbols of our clubs.
“I think he said recently that he missed me on a competitive level.”
“It’s always nice to be spoken of in a flattering way,” he continued.
“It’s nice if they say I’ve been the best, a fantastic player.
“Today I hear everything they say about me, but when it’s all over, at the end of my career, I won’t mind because I’ll disconnect from everything.”
Continuing on the theme of motivation, Ronaldo confessed that he’s more switched on in the Champions League and while playing for Portugal.
“If it were up to me, I’d only play important games,” he said.
“Those of the national team and the Champions League.
“It’s these types of games that motivate me, those with everything at stake.
“But you have to be professional and honour your family and the club who pay you.
“You have to do your best every day.