The end of Cristiano v Messi? It’s just starting, says Ronaldo | football | Hindustan Times
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The end of Cristiano v Messi? It’s just starting, says Ronaldo

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo pulled level with Lionel Messi on five FIFA awards apiece and believes there is more to come from both.

football Updated: Oct 24, 2017 15:50 IST
Dom Farrell
Ronaldo, left, shakes hands with Lionel Messi during the The Best FIFA 2017 Awards at the Palladium Theatre in London, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
Ronaldo, left, shakes hands with Lionel Messi during the The Best FIFA 2017 Awards at the Palladium Theatre in London, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo believes his rivalry with Lionel Messi has plenty of distance left to run after scooping the Best FIFA Men’s Player award in London. (FIFA U-17 World Cup - Full coverage)

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was honoured at the gala after a poll of international head coaches, captains and members of the media saw him come out ahead of Barcelona counterpart Messi, with Brazil and PSG forward Neymar in third.

Including the years when FIFA’s individual award was merged with the Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo and Messi have now been labelled the best player in the world by football’s global governing body five times apiece.

Five-each

The Portugal captain has come out on top in four of the past five years, with Lionel Messi in second place on each occasion.

Yet Messi has been in a rich vein of form for club and country over recent months, firing Barca to the top of LaLiga with 11 goals in nine matches and securing Argentina’s place at the 2018 World Cup with a majestic hat-trick against Ecuador.

As the all-time leading scorers for their respective clubs and countries and the two leaders in both LaLiga and Champions League history, debate over who is superior out of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will occupy football fans for some time to come.

‘No rivalry’

Speaking to reporters at London Palladium, Ronaldo initially sought to play down the rivalry before apparently laying down a long-term challenge to the 30-year-old Messi, whom he swapped cordial greetings with as they sat alongside each other during the ceremony.

“I don’t compete with Leo,” he said. “He is a player, who is in the same era. He won five times. I won five times too - individual awards for the best in the world. So things are as they are.

“Obviously, I am happy because, as I said before, I am at the best club in the world. I have had the opportunity to demonstrate that I am at a very high level during the last few years. And I am still (physically) very well.

‘Not over yet’

“So I am very quiet. I will see what’s going to happen tomorrow, but at the moment I have to enjoy this nice moment of my life because you never know what will happen next.”

But, asked whether Ronaldo versus Messi was over, the 32-year-old added: “It didn’t finish yet... it is just starting.”

Reigning Spanish and European champions Madrid are currently five points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona, who they host in the first Clasico of the season on December 23.