Lionel Messi admits that he misses playing against Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga

It will be a sad day when the Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry comes to an end.

Over the last decade, they have emerged as some of the greatest players in history and supporters have been torn on who is the true number one ever since.

For nine years, fans were able to see both players share the pitch on a regular basis, with the pair plying their trade at Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

And while the rivalry continues to this very day, it has started to span a greater distance after Ronaldo took the decision to begin a new chapter at Juventus.

The Portuguese has started life in Italy by bagging himself the Serie A crown and the league's award for the 'Most Valuable Player.'

Messi gives lengthy interview

Nevertheless, a brief drop in goals and a struggle to bring European success seems to have given Messi the advantage in this year's hunt for the Ballon d'Or.

That doesn't mean that Real Madrid haven't missed his presence, though, and his former club has given a massive downturn in form since he left in the summer.

However, it isn't just Los Blancos themselves that miss Ronaldo, but Messi himself has missed that close rivalry and revealed so during an interview with Fox Sport Argentina.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga

Messi admits he misses Ronaldo

When asked if he missed Ronaldo now that he wasn't in the same league, the Barcelona super star responded: “Of course I miss Ronaldo, he made Real Madrid stronger.

"I said that they were going to feel the exit of Cristiano, as it would have happened to any team.

"As any team would have missed him. They got mad in Madrid when I said it but it's the truth.

“A few people got angry but it’s a reality, he scored 50 goals per season for them and it was a key factor in their success. The whole league misses him now.

"When we have the best players in the world it makes the competition more important. It was good for us both, we always wanted to improve ourselves.

“We did not have much of a relationship. We knew each other only from matches and at award ceremonies, but we always had good vibes and often talk too.”

Real recognises real.

Messi and Ronaldo have always had the upmost respect for one another and they seem to inhabit an exclusive club of footballing gods that can produce the statistics they do.

FBL-FIFA-BALLONDOR-AWARD

You can't fault the Argentine for wanting a challenge either, revelling in the idea that La Liga have the best players in the world and thus gives Barcelona the biggest test of all.

Messi has been able to secure the league crown in Ronaldo's absence, but will feel disappointed at missing out on both Champions League and Copa del Rey glory.

We're just keeping our fingers crossed that Messi and Ronaldo share the pitch a few more times before both players hang up their boots.

Who do you think is better - Ronaldo or Messi? Have your say in the comments section below.

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