NEWS
Monday January 7 2013
Messi & Ronaldo downplay rivalry

The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is non-existent, according to the Real Madrid forward.

Ronaldo, Messi and Andres Iniesta are in Zurich to find out which of them has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012.

The three were present at a Press conference a short while ago, and one of the questions put to Ronaldo was whether he found his Barcelona counterpart Messi ‘annoying.’

“I’m not frustrated,” he replied. “They do their job, I do mine, there is no rivalry. Of course we’re here to win but there is no rivalry. What we want is to enjoy ourselves.”

The Portuguese winger had a grin and an excuse when asked why he hadn’t voted for Messi.

“I had the opportunity to vote, but I got hit in the eye and I couldn’t go.”

Ronaldo also spoke briefly on the subject of racism after Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng was recently compelled to leave the field when abused during a friendly.

“This should not exist. It’s just a game of football, and this is not good for anyone, we should live in peace. Boateng’s decision was personal, it’s his opinion.”

Messi then reiterated Ronaldo’s message about the lack of antipathy between the two.

“It would be stupid to think that Cristiano is not one of the three best players in the world. I voted for Iniesta, Xavi [Hernandez] and Kun [Aguero] because they have done very well and it was my decision.

“I don’t compete against Cristiano, I’ve said it many times. I compete to win titles and help my team.”

Surprisingly the 25-year-old does not believe this has been an exceptional year for him, because of Barca’s failure to win the Champions League and La Liga titles.

“It was not my best year. I’m more interested in team prizes than individual ones so there was another in which we won more titles and that was better. When you’re this age you only think about winning, not about whether you’re the best in the world.

“I’m happy with Barcelona and the Argentine national team. The World Cup is far away, we have to keep growing, but we’re in a good dynamic.”

Iniesta claimed it was an honour simply to be in contention.

“Being here next to Cristiano and Messi is very nice and special. As a kid you dream of these things, you desire to keep growing, but you don’t think you’ll be the best. I’m very happy to be here.”
 

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