The Madrid derby is one of the biggest games in world football and at the heart of it are two of the sport’s finest athletes. After all, you’d be hard pressed to argue that Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann are anything but world-class.
Moreover, the duo have endured some memorable clashes in the last year alone. However, Ronaldo came out on top over his French combatant in both the Champions League final and Euro 2016 climax.
It’s all well and good that they’re rivals on the pitch though, but do the star stubbed pair have any relationship outside of the sport? Incredibly, the answer is yes.
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Friends and rivals
In fact, Griezmann and Ronaldo were once neighbours in Madrid, which makes the area one every talented postcode.
In addition, the Atletico Madrid star has shed light on what it was like to live down the road from the three-time Ballon d’Or winner. Speaking to L’Equipe, the 25-year-old stated: "Ronaldo used to be my neighbour and he passed my house every day.
"We always greeted each other. But I moved house last year. I do not live far away now, but you do not meet as regularly.
“But we did meet this summer in Miami. I was on holiday with my partner and we met Cristiano in a restaurant. It was a huge coincidence. I went up to him to congratulate him for Portugal's Euro 2016 win and Madrid's Champions League victory.”
It was at this point that the Frenchman also strived to explain a rather odd rumour doing the rounds.
Ronaldo had recently revealed that Griezmann ‘hated him’ and an inevitable bout of confusion and surprise came in tandem. However, the Atleti striker assured it was simply a jovial statement by explaining:
"I joked that I hated him, because I was still suffering after the Euro 2016 final. But I obviously do not feel differently about him because he beat me in two major finals and scored a hat-trick at the weekend. I have a lot of respect for him."
While the rumours of hate can now be put to rest, the rivalry between the two will likely continue for some time. After all, both forwards are integral to their respective clubs in the Spanish capital.
Ronaldo looks set to have the last laugh yet again though. Not only did the 31-year-old defeat Griezmann in two major finals this year, but Real Madrid look the most likely candidates for the La Liga title this season.
Zinedine Zidane’s men sit four points clear of Barcelona while Atleti are off the pace in sixth place. Even with Griezmann fit and firing, Diego Simeone’s chances of recovering from a nine-point deficit look slim.
Regardless of that though, supporters can at least be buoyed by the fact that two of the game’s biggest stars are surprisingly close friends. Moreover, despite the Portuguese consistently coming out on top, there seems to be no love lost.
Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in world football? Leave them in the comment section below!