Barcelona’s Lionel Messi admits “I’ll never write off Real Madrid” but believes Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the ‘strongest’ teams at present.
In the second part of his interview with Marca after receiving his fourth European Golden Shoe, Messi also suggested his hegemony with Cristiano Ronaldo was possibly coming to an end and confessed he did not know whether he would ever be friends with his Madrid rival.
“Manchester City the team to beat this season? City are one of the best teams around at the moment, along with PSG,” continued the No 10.
“Until now, they’ve been the two teams that have shown themselves to be the strongest.
“Still, the season is very long. I’ll never write off Madrid for what they are and the experience they have, even though they’re not currently getting the results that everyone expects from them.
“I have no doubt that they’ll ultimately be fighting for everything, like they do every year, Bayern too.
“They’re another big team that will also be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, but it’s true that City and PSG are the best right now.
“Madrid in crisis? It’s something temporary. It’s not the first time that I’ve seen Real Madrid experience a situation in the League like this.
“They’ll end up fighting for everything, given the team they are, the players they have and that they’ve always done so.
“Ronaldo still my biggest rival for the Ballon d’Or? There are many great players who can possibly win the Ballon d’Or.
“We’ve been the two that have competed for it in recent years, but now there are players like Neymar, Mbappe or Suarez who are capable of winning it.
“Friends with Ronaldo? I don’t know if we will be. Friendship is something that’s built on spending time together and getting to know each other.
“We have no relationship, but it’s mainly because we only see each other at award ceremonies and that’s the only time we speak.
“For now, everything is fine, but then we go back to not crossing each other’s paths.”