Cristiano Ronaldo has downplayed any rivalry with Lionel Messi, asserted season ambition with Real Madrid and enthused at work with Gareth Bale.
The Portuguese is seen as once more in direct contention with Barcelona’s Argentine star for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2013, alongside Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.
However, for the 28-year-old, discussion of ‘Ronaldo versus Messi’ is missing the point.
“We are different players. There is no rivalry between us,” responded Ronaldo in the latest issue of FourFourTwo, before being asked if it compares as a duel to that of Ali and Frazer or McEnroe and Borg.
“In these examples you put to me, they are individual sports. Football is a team sport. I think that I have had a good year, but this is a team game.
“I do not believe that any player can be great if they do not have great teammates.
“I know I would not be the player I am today without my teammates, nor the Coaches, nor the fans, who I play for. And without my family.”
Ronaldo was asked how early work on the field was going with Real Madrid’s summer signing Gareth Bale.
“I like playing with Gareth. I do not know if together we are impossible to defend, we’ll see what Sergio Ramos says…
“Gareth is very good and gives us more options in attack, as was the case with [Wayne] Rooney [at Manchester United], who I had a very good understanding with.
“It is easy to work with good players.”
The forward then reflected on Madrid’s ambitions for the season.
“I think we can win both La Liga and the Champions League. And to top-score in both competitions? It would be awesome to do that.”
Ronaldo was also asked for comment on FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s recent words on him, labelling him a ‘commander’.
“I’m not sure the word ‘commander’ is right for me as there are many leaders in the team, not only in the field but away from it too.”