Cristiana Ronaldo has downplayed the importance of his rivalry with Lionel Messi and stressed that there is a mutual respect between them, even though the 2 are not friends.
Ronaldo and his Barcelona counterpart, Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or election over the past 8 years and they are widely regarded as the 2 best players in the world.
There is an ongoing debate about who is the better of the duo, but Ronaldo is adamant there is no bitterness between the pair.
“There is a big mutual respect between myself and Messi,” the Madrid star told Coach Magazine.
“The media like to make out like we have this big rivalry, but we don’t.
“It is not like we are good friends, but there is a mutual respect on both sides.”
The 31-yar-old has faced plenty of high-profile defenders since making his professional debut at Sporting CP, but there is one opponent who stands out for the prolific attacker.
“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo said.
“He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”
A defender who has mainly been battling alongside Ronaldo is Pepe and the forward has nothing but praise for his team-mate.
“Pepe is the team-mate I would want next to me in a war,”
“Not only is he a fantastic defender, but he leaves nothing on the field. He gives everything.” he added.