Cristiano Ronaldo has said he hopes to have dinner with Lionel Messi sometime in the future after saluting their “good relationship” despite their longstanding rivalry.
Messi and Ronaldo have been seen as the top two players in football for over a decade, with the pair managing to form a monopoly on Ballon d’Or for 10 years, winning five each.
In addition, their stranglehold over the Ballon d’Or was ended, as Ronaldo’s former team-mate Luka Modric secured the award.
But seated next to each other at the UEFA Champions League draw, the pair were seen conversing and appeared to enjoy one another’s company.
When asked about it prior to the naming of the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Ronaldo was full of praise for his rival, as well as admitting he hopes the pair can get dinner some time in the future.
“We shared the stage for 15 years, me and him,” Ronaldo said at the Champions League draw. “I don’t know that it’s ever happened in football, the same two guys, the same stage, all the time. It’s not easy.
“We have a good relationship. We’ve not had dinner together yet, but I hope [we will] in the future.
“Of course I miss playing in Spain – we’ve had that battle the last 15 years, which is good. It pushed me and I pushed him as well.
“It’s good to be part of the history of football. I’m there and of course he’s there as well.”
Ronaldo was asked about rumours of a possible retirement at the end of the season, as well as if he might time his exit from the game to coincide with Messi’s.
The Juventus star did note he has two years on his Barcelona counterpart, but promised to remain among football elite for the foreseeable future.
“He’s two years younger than me, but I think I look good for my age,” Ronaldo said. “I hope to be here next year and then in two years and three years. So the people that don’t like me, they’re going to see me here.”
While neither Messi nor Ronaldo could beat out Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk for the Player of the Year, the Argentine top his Portguese rival for award for top forward.
And Messi matched Ronaldo’s praise, saluting his long-running battle with the Juve star.
"With Cristiano, it was a beautiful rivalry," he said.
"It's nice to score goals. The goal is always to try to do things to win, before scoring. But if you can win and score, then [it's] better."