Ronaldo says he and Messi are not ‘friends’

Madrid: Real Madrid’s star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has said he and his arch-rival FC Barcelona’s talisman Lionel Messi are not good friends.

Having dominated the world footballer of the year selection over the past eight years and widely regarded as the two best players of the current generation, Ronaldo said they respect each other but can’t be termed friends.

“There is a big mutual respect between myself and Messi,” the 31-year-old told Coach Magazine, as quoted by on Thursday.

“The media like to make out like we have this big rivalry, but we don’t. It is not like we are good friends, but there is a mutual respect on both sides.”

On his first visit to India, Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry said recently that this year also the prestigious award would decided between the two “abnormal footballers” and that he hasn’t seen players of such high calibre in his lifetime.

“They are abnormal footballers. I have not seen players like them have you? I think the Ballon d’Or will again be between the two of them. (Antoinne) Griezmann and (Gareth) Bale are the other contenders.”

Messi has won the award five times, Ronaldo thrice. No one has won the prestigious prize other than the two since 2008.