Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken of his admiration for long-term rival Lionel Messi and believes the two have made each other better players.
The Ronaldo-Messi era in Spanish football ended last summer following the Portuguese's transfer to Juventus in a €100m deal, with both still widely recognised as the two outstanding players in the sport.
The duo shared nine consecutive Ballon d’Or awards as the two dominated football for over a decade with a remarkable longevity of excellence in their performances.
“I have no doubt that he has made me a better player and I have done (the same for) him,” Ronaldo told TVI, in quotes cited by Diario Sport.
“Rivalries are good, they are healthy, whether that is in football or in any other sport and I have an excellent professional relationship with Messi.
“Have we had dinner together? No, but why not in the future? I would have no problem. He is Argentine and my wife too.”
The two’s personal rivalry was mirrored in the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona not only at the top level of Spanish football but also of the European game.
Ronaldo netted an extraordinary 450 goals in 438 appearances for Los Blancos – a club record – while Messi has netted 603 times in 687 appearances for the Blaugana, another record.