Cristiano Ronaldo says playing Lionel Messi is a 'great privilege'

Ronaldo and Messi reunited for first time on Tuesday night since the Portuguese's move to Juventus in 2018; Ronaldo: "I never saw him as a rival... It's always beautiful to play against him"; Juventus beat Barcelona 3-0 to claim top spot

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were reunited during the Champions League clash between Juventus and Barcelona
Image: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were reunited during the Champions League clash between Juventus and Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo says it is a "great privilege" to play against Lionel Messi and he never considered their relationship as a rivalry.

The two forwards, considered two of the best players of all time, came up against each other once again on Tuesday night in Juventus' 3-0 win at Barcelona in the Champions League.

The former Manchester United star stole the limelight on this occasion as his brace from the penalty spot helped the Serie A champions overcome the 2-0 loss they suffered to the Catalans in October and claim top spot in Group G due to a superior head-to-head record.

Messi and Ronaldo crossed paths several times from award ceremonies such as the Ballon d'Or to El Clasico showdowns during the Portuguese's stint at Real Madrid, but the latter insists there's never been bad blood between them.

"Leo and me shared the last twelve, thirteen or fourteen years of our lives," he told Movistar after the clash on Tuesday night.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 08: Lionel Messi of Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus F.C. (R) look on during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on December 08, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Imag

"I've always had a cordial relationship with him, I never saw him as a rival. It's the press that creates the rivalry. If you ask Leo, he'll tell you the same thing.

"It's always beautiful to play against him. Obviously people will talk about our rivalry when we meet, but for me it's just a great privilege.

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"I faced him while with Manchester United, with Real Madrid and now with Juventus. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy about my goals and for me, managing to score is always the source of greater joys.

"Maybe it's even better when I play against the team which he is playing in."

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his penalty opener for Juventus against Barcelona
Image: Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus to top spot in their Champions League group

What is Ronaldo and Messi's history like?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have reunited for the first time since the latter's move to Italy in 2018 as Barcelona hosted Juventus in Champions League on Tuesday, but what is their history like?

They top the charts in categories across the board, but how do the two superstars compare and what have they been up to since they last saw each other?

Read the full feature here

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