By 90Min
August 22, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo has praised the 'healthy rivalry' that he's had with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi throughout his career, insisting that the two record Ballon d'Or winners have spurred each other on to become better players.

Both stars truly started to establish themselves in the mid to late noughties, winning ten consecutive Ballon d'Or awards between them, with Messi being tipped to win a record sixth title later this year.

Ronaldo recently spoke out about his long-standing rivalry with Messi, something which dominated European football during his nine-year spell at Real Madrid, and claimed that he's been spurred on to become a better player thanks to their healthy conflict.

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"I have no doubt that Messi has made me a better player and vice-versa," Ronaldo told Portuguese outlet TV 1 (via AFP). "When I am winning trophies it must sting him and it's the same for me when he wins.

"I really admire the career he has had and from his side, he has already talked of the disappointment when I left Spain because it was a rivalry that he appreciated.

"It's a good rivalry but it's not unique - Michael Jordan had rivalries in basketball, there was Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in Formula 1. The thing they all had in common is that they were healthy rivalries."

During his time at Real Madrid, Ronaldo made 438 appearances across all competitions, scoring an outstanding 450 goals as well as claiming 131 assists.

The Portugal international, who is two years older than Messi, is closing in on breaking Brazil legend Pelé's goalscoring record too.

Although an official figure is widely disputed - Pelé says that he scored over 1000 career goals - Ronaldo needs to score 768 goals to achieve the record, with the Portugal international currently sitting on 687 for club and country.

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