Football

Ronaldo has played down his rivalry with Messi .

Cristiano Ronaldo explains his relationship with Lionel Messi

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For the last eight years or so, it's been great to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi battle it out for the mantle of the world's best player.

The pair are expected to go toe-to-toe once again for this year's Ballon d'Or award, even if it seems like almost a foregone conclusion that CR7 will walk away with the prize.

It's hard to remember a situation quite like it, whereby two players have dominated the game to such an extent.

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Anyone who's watched the current generation of footballers will remember Messi and Ronaldo for years to come, although everyone has their own opinion on who's the greatest.

However, that doesn't automatically mean that they're massive rivals.

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Of course, the fact that Messi plays for Barcelona and Ronaldo for Real Madrid only adds to the narrative that they're obsessed with beating one another, in La Liga and the Champions League.

If you ask Ronaldo himself, though, it doesn't sound like that's true at all. In fact, the Portuguese has played down his competition with the Argentinian.

Mutual respect 

"There is a big mutual respect between myself and Messi," the Real Madrid star told told Coach Magazine, via Goal.com.

"The media like to make out like we have this big rivalry, but we don't."

It sounds like they get on perfectly well then, no? Not quite. Although Ronaldo has confirmed what we all suspected, that the pair don't hate each other, he stopped short of adding Messi to his Christmas card list.

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015

"It is not like we are good friends, but there is a mutual respect on both sides," he added.

That settles that, then. Even so, Messi must be feeling just a tinge of jealousy as he watches the Los Blancos attacker cruise to another award. Ronaldo's already won Euro 2016 and the Champions League this year, while Messi has found things pretty difficult by comparison.

The superstar missed a crucial penalty as Argentina lost out to Chile in the final of the Copa America, and off the field, the less said about his legal difficulties with the taxman, the better, as we all just want to focus on the football.

The Ronaldo vs. Messi debate isn't going to end anytime soon, but for now, let's just enjoy watching them dazzle.

Should Ronaldo win this year's Ballon d'Or? Or should Messi, or someone else? Let us know in the comments. 

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Topics:
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
UEFA Champions League

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