Cristiano Ronaldo, in a recent press conference while on international duty with Portugal, openly discussed the conclusion of his storied rivalry with Lionel Messi. The two soccer icons have left an indelible mark on the sport over the past 15 years, forever altering the landscape of soccer.
Addressing the media, Ronaldo asserted, “The rivalry is gone. It was good, spectators liked it.” He acknowledged the immense popularity and appeal of their head-to-head competition, which captivated fans worldwide for over a decade.
Ronaldo went on to emphasize the profound impact of their rivalry on the sport, stating, “Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t have to hate Messi and vice versa. We’ve done well, we have changed the history of football. We are respected all over the world; that’s the most important thing.” He underscored the idea that their simultaneous excellence coexisted without the need for animosity among supporters.
Closing his remarks on their enduring legacy and professional relationship, Ronaldo shared, “From what I’ve seen, he’s been doing well, and so have I. The legacy lives on, but I don’t see the rivalry like that. We shared the stage many times, it was 15 years. I’m not saying we’re friends; I’ve never had dinner with him, but we’re professional colleagues, and we respect each other.”
“The rivalry is over, it was a good healthy rivalry” ⚔
Cristiano Ronaldo says he had a healthy rivalry with Lionel Messi but that is now over with the pair ‘changing the history of football’ ⚽ pic.twitter.com/DiP0fKgKix
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 7, 2023
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi finds himself nominated for the Ballon d’Or award for the 16th time, a testament to his exceptional career. Interestingly, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t make the final list for the first time in two decades, sparking discussions in online communities.
Some believe that Messi’s victory in the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and Ronaldo’s omission from the list played a role in Ronaldo’s gracious comments, indicating a truce in their friendly rivalry.
Regardless of the online discourse, it’s undeniable that Ronaldo and Messi have made an immense impact on soccer. Their dominance on the field, accumulating numerous trophies and scoring more than 1,600 career goals combined.
Now, with Ronaldo joining Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia and Messi heading to America to play for Inter Miami, the two soccer legends have embarked on new journeys, aiming to further expand the global reach of soccer on their own unique terms.
Cristiano Ronaldo insists the Saudi Pro League is better than the Portuguese League
Cristiano Ronaldo also sparked discussions with his bold statement, asserting that the Saudi Pro League surpasses the Portuguese League in terms of quality and organization. Ronaldo’s remarks have garnered attention, as he compared the two leagues and shared his thoughts on the Saudi Pro League’s trajectory.
“I believe that the Arab League is better than the Portuguese one,” Ronaldo declared emphatically, shedding light on his perspective. He emphasized the relative lack of controversy and hype surrounding the Saudi league, alongside the superior quality of players it boasts.
Ronaldo expressed his hopes for further improvements in the league’s stature, albeit acknowledging the daunting challenges it faces. He remarked, “I hope it can get better, I know it will be difficult. Possibly impossible. It turns out to be a circus, what has been happening lately.”
The international spending record from the 2019 summer transfer window has been broken overnight. 👀💸 pic.twitter.com/CJW1aysl5b
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) August 30, 2023
Ronaldo went on to defend the Saudi Pro League against criticisms of its approach to strengthening its teams through purchasing established talents, rather than nurturing homegrown stars. He noted that league criticisms are commonplace worldwide, citing examples from Spain and Portugal.
He highlighted the normalization of playing in the Saudi Arabian league, underscoring that such critiques are an intrinsic part of the global soccer landscape.
This isn’t the first time Ronaldo has endorsed the Saudi Pro League. In July, he expressed similar sentiments, comparing Saudi League favorably to Major League Soccer (MLS) and predicting its rise to challenge several European leagues.
Since his initial remarks, renowned players like Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté, Neymar Jr., Fabinho, Aymeric Laporte, and others have made high-profile moves to the Saudi league, signifying its growing allure.
During the summer of 2023, teams from the Saudi Pro League collectively invested approximately $906 million in transfers, securing their status as significant players in the global transfer market.
While this figure still trails behind the Premier League’s staggering $2.6 billion spent during the same period, it underscores the league’s continued ambition and emergence on the world stage.