Lionel Messi has insisted he and Cristiano Ronaldo are not engaged in a personal rivalry. “It’s something the media has invented.”
Messi was speaking to Shortlist magazine ahead of the start of the Copa America, the tournament in Chile at which he will captain Argentina.
“There is no rivalry, it’s something the media has invented,” the Barcelona forward said, AS reports.
“It’s not Messi against Ronaldo and it never has been.”
Messi was also asked about his club future and suggested he can’t imagine a day when he doesn’t wear Barca colours.
“Barca have given me everything. They gave me a chance when no one else would. I’ve never had the desire to play anywhere else and I’ll be here as long as they want me.”
Messi did though acknowledge he could have joined Arsenal when he was younger and speculated as to how things would have gone differently.
“It’s hard to say how it would have been but obviously my education would have been different, but [the Premier League] is one of the most competitive in Europe,” he considered.
On the goal he scored against Bayern Munich – which left Jerome Boateng in a crumpled heap on the turf – Messi preferred to credit his teammates rather than accept the individual acclaim generated.
“My Barca teammates are close and compliment me on a good performance but I couldn’t play like that if I didn’t have players of their exceptional level,” he insisted.
“You always want to score but scoring isn’t everything. Look at Luis Suarez, who didn’t score much earlier in the season but always worked hard. Now we’re all scoring goals.
“That’s what’s good for the team and that’s how we get results. That’s what’s important.”