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Cristiano Ronaldo insists his rivalry with Lionel Messi is OVER after they 'changed the history of football' with their 15-year duel… as he opens up on his relationship with Inter Miami star

Cristiano Ronaldo has delivered the hammer blow to fans hoping he and great rival Lionel Messi might rekindle their rivalry once more, insisting that their time ‘is gone’.

Messi and Ronaldo shared the stage for more than a decade at the pinnacle of football – largely on either side of the Barcelona-Real Madrid divide – sharing a total of 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them in 13 years. 

Ronaldo’s move to Juventus saw an end to their serial meetings each season back in 2019, before a move to Saudi Arabia in January 2023, and Messi’s switch to Inter Miami this season, saw them now playing on different continents. 

Messi’s departure for David Beckham’s MLS outfit was largely seen as an end to the pair’s time sharing centre stage, and although there is still an opportunity for them to cross paths on the international stage, a meeting at club level is now unlikely. 

Ronaldo was full of praise for his one-time rival, claiming that the pair have a great mutual respect, and spoke of how their duopoly was a treat for adoring fans across the world at a recent press conference.  

Cristiano Ronaldo admitted that his rivalry with Lionel Messi is over with both playing in different continents

Cristiano Ronaldo admitted that his rivalry with Lionel Messi is over with both playing in different continents

Messi joined David Beckham's Inter Miami this summer at the end of his Paris Saint-Germain contract

Messi joined David Beckham’s Inter Miami this summer at the end of his Paris Saint-Germain contract

The pair shared a storied rivalry at the pinnacle of football for over a decade, largely framed by the El Clasico derby

The pair shared a storied rivalry at the pinnacle of football for over a decade, largely framed by the El Clasico derby

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‘Hatred? I don’t see things like that, the rivalry is gone,’ Ronaldo said, when asked if fans who love him have to hate Messi. ‘It was good, spectators liked it.

‘Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t have to hate Messi and vice versa. We’ve done well, we have changed the history of football. We are respected all over the world, that’s the most important thing.

‘He’s followed his path and I have followed mine, regardless of playing outside of Europe. From what I’ve seen, he’s been doing well and so have I. The legacy lives on, but I don’t see the rivalry like that. 

‘We shared the stage many times, it was 15 years. I’m not saying we’re friends, I’ve never had dinner with him, but we’re professional colleagues and we respect each other.’

Both Ronaldo and Messi are widely regarded as the greatest to have ever played the game, with the latter joining the exclusive group of players to have won the Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d’Or in December.

Between them they have won some 79 trophies, and are the only two to have scored over 800 goals – Ronaldo netting his 850th on Saturday against Al-Hazm for Al-Nassr. 

‘It’s a historic landmark,’ Ronaldo, 38, said of his achievement. ‘For me it was a source of pride the numbers I achieved, which I didn’t think I could reach.

‘But I want more. While playing the game, the bar has to be high, thinking big.’

Cristiano Ronaldo reached the milestone of 850 senior goals on Saturday for Al-Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo reached the milestone of 850 senior goals on Saturday for Al-Nassr

Messi is one of just nine players to have won the Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d'Or

Messi is one of just nine players to have won the Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d’Or

Ronaldo will lead his country in their upcoming European Championship qualifiers

Ronaldo will lead his country in their upcoming European Championship qualifiers

Ronaldo was not included in the shortlist for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, announced on Wednesday evening. 

Having won it five times in the past – second only to Messi’s haul of seven – it is the first time in 20 years that the Portuguese legend was omitted. 

He will now prepare to lead his country in their two upcoming European Qualifying clashes, taking place in the international break. 

Roberto Martinez’s side will take on Slovakia in Bratislava on September 8, before returning home to take on Luxembourg in Algarve.  

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