Cristiano Ronaldo has launched a vehement denial of claims made by Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague in his latest book, which suggest that the Real Madrid superstar privately refers to Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as a 'motherf****r'.
Balague's updated work on Messi sees the writer cite unnamed Madrid players as revealing Ronaldo routinely uses the foul-mouthed moniker when referring to the Argentine forward, a player he has been measured against almost non-stop over the last three years.
The Telegraph put those claims in the wider public domain with an extract from Balague's book and Ronaldo must have quickly been made aware of that report, using his official Facebook page to try and put the record straight and send a threat of legal action the author's way at the same time.
Ronaldo adamant he respects Messi
In his latest social media post the Portuguese international shared: "News is circulating that I allegedly made offending remarks regarding Lionel Messi.
"This is absolutely false and I have assured my lawyer takes action to sue those responsible. I have the utmost respect for all my professional colleagues, and Messi is obviously no exception."
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Rivalry won't go away despite respect claims
Messi and Ronaldo are almost certainly sick to death of being compared to one another, but with a Champions League goal record and the Ballon d'Or to fight over in terms of individual awards the debate over who is the best player of our generation is here to stay.
Barca's Argentine talisman scored a brace against Ajax last week to move level with Real Madrid legend Raul as the Champions League's all-time record goalscorer, with 71 goals the current haul that duo share.
Incredible start to the season for Ronaldo
Ronaldo is just a single goal behind on 70 and has enjoyed a quite incredible start to the season, even by his own high standards.
The 29-year-old has scored a ridiculous 18 goals in 10 league games so far this term, with 23 in 17 across all competitions.
A row over how he views Messi is a distraction the former Manchester United marksman could do without, but any potential legal battle is extremely unlikely to impact the performance of an elite athlete currently at the peak of his powers.