Cristiano Ronaldo took a little dig at Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in a press conference on Tuesday night, claiming it doesn’t matter how good their friendship is because all that matters is what happens on the pitch.
At the same time, the Real Madrid superstar revealed he knows this is true because of an earlier experience at Manchester United.
Ronaldo said that, despite winning the Champions League title with the Red Devils in 2008, he rarely spoke with Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand or Paul Scholes.
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"When I was at Manchester winning the Champions League, with some players like (Ryan) Giggs, (Rio) Ferdinand and (Paul) Scholes our discussions were limited to 'Good morning' and 'Good night,’ Ronaldo was quoted as telling journalists by the Telegraph. “But when we were on the pitch together there was total understanding.”
That’s a surprising revelation from Ronaldo, who always appeared to be a popular member of the Manchester United dressing room.
Since he left Old Trafford in 2009, Giggs, Ferdinand and Scholes have only ever had positive things to say about the three-time Ballon d’Or winner - from his extraordinary ability to his remarkable professionalism.
Ronaldo: I don't have dinner for Benzema or Bale
After his comment about his former United teammates, Ronaldo then insisted it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have a close relationship with his fellow forwards - off the pitch - at the Bernabeu.
"I don't need to go out for dinner with Benzema or Bale,” the 31-year-old added. “What counts is what happens on the pitch."
It’s patently clear, then, that Ronaldo’s relationship with Benzema and Bale is strictly professional - which, of course, there’s nothing wrong with.
However, it could be argued that one of the reasons Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ have gelled so well is because they’re all good friends on and off the pitch.
Total difference between the MSN and BBC
Rarely will you see Messi, Suarez or Neymar act selfishly during matches - but the same can’t be said, unfortunately, of Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
It’s no secret that the world-class forward wants to be top dog, the highest goalscorer and the Real Madrid player in with the best chance of winning the Ballon d’Or every January.
Can you imagine, for example, Ronaldo passing a penalty in order to set up Bale or Benzema in the same way Messi did for Suarez on Sunday?
Cristiano was irritated by Messi’s unorthodox penalty against Celta Vigo because it allowed Suarez to pull two goals clear in the race for the Pichichi - the award handed to La Liga’s top goalscorer.
This ultra-competitiveness has helped Ronaldo to scale the heights he had during his career - but there’s a chance that, when his career comes to an end, he won’t have made too many lifelong friends from the game.
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