Messi: Cristiano rivalry was very healthy and good for the fans

Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi SplitGetty/Goal

Lionel Messi has called his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo "healthy" and said that it was good for fans. 

The Argentine and Portuguese battled it out in La Liga for the better part of a decade after Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009. 

Barcelona star Messi and Ronaldo were the dominant forces in Spain and world football for much of their time in the league together, creating a natural rivalry between the pair. 

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During Ronaldo's time with the Blancos, he won La Liga twice and lifted the Champions League four times. 

Meanwhile, Messi has won an incredible nine La Liga titles (six of which were earned while Ronaldo was at Madrid) and also lifted the Champions League on four occasions. 

Ronaldo's spell in Spain ended prior to the current season, as the 33-year-old completed a sensational transfer to Juventus. 

And Messi has claimed that the pair's time at the top of the game in Spain was a positive for football and for fans all over. 

"The rivalry with Cristiano was very healthy and good for the fans," the 31-year-old told Marca.  

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo

In the individual award department, Messi and Ronaldo have each won the Ballon d'Or five times, creating a duopoly on the award between 2008 and 2017. 

That run was broken in 2018, with Ronaldo's former Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric lifting the prize and Messi controversially finishing fifth in the voting.

Messi finished behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ronaldo and Modric, and has stated that he knew he would not win when he saw his competition for the award. 

"I heard the nominees for the Ballon d'Or and I knew I wasn't in the fight," Messi said. 

Despite all the success that Messi has had on the football pitch, he has insisted that there is still one higher priority in his life. 

"I love football, but family is above all," the Argentine stated.