Cristiano Ronaldo opens up on reports he ‘hates’ Lionel Messi

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Cristiano Ronaldo insists he is ‘not friends’ with long-term rival Lionel Messi despite sharing the stage at the top of world football for nearly two decades. The Manchester United and Real Madrid icon did play down talk that they ‘hate’ each other but sensationally claims he has ‘never chatted’ with the Argentine. 

Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the sport since the mid-2000s, battling for the top prizes. Nobody else won the Ballon d’Or for 10 consecutive years between 2008 and 2017. 

In total, Messi won the award on seven occasions, while Ronaldo picked it up five times. Sharing that stage for so long might lead fans to assume that the pair at least exchanged plenty of conversations. 

However, Al-Nassr forward Ronaldo has revealed that he has ‘never chatted’ to the Barcelona legend, who now plays his football for Inter Miami. The Portuguese star has said that they are ‘not friends’. 

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Speaking while on international duty, Ronaldo said: “It was a good rivalry. It was claimed that Cristiano hates Messi and vice versa but that wasn’t true. We have changed the history of football.

“The legacy continues and we shared the stage for 15 years so the respect is there. I’m not saying that we are friends, I never chatted with him, but I respect him.”

Ronaldo has also slammed critics of his move to Saudi Arabia last year. The 38-year-old was the first in a long line of high-profile stars to move to the country when he signed for Al-Nassr in December. 

He claims he was called ‘crazy’ for switching to the Middle East following his axing by Manchester United. Ronaldo – who has six goals in four Saudi Pro League appearances this season – suggests it is now ‘normal’ to play in the country. 

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“Everyone thought it was crazy. Well, the crazy guy is not so crazy now. Now, it’s normal to play in the Arab League,” he added. 

“I knew this was going to happen and I’m glad I’m helping to change a culture. I want the Arab league to continue to evolve in the coming years to be the top league.”

It comes on transfer deadline day for Saudi Pro League clubs. Not content with signing the likes of Neymar, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and N’Golo Kante, Saudi Arabia is desperate to add one more megastar to their league. 

Reports suggest that Al-Ittihad were preparing a blockbuster world-record £200m offer for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. However, the Premier League side will do everything to keep their star player. 

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