Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scooped up the Best FIFA Men’s Player award in London on Monday night and promptly declared that his rivalry with Barcelona’s Lione Messi – who’s also on five award – is just beginning.
Speaking to reporters at the venue, Ronaldo initially sought to play down the rivalry but, when asked whether Ronaldo versus Messi was over, the 32-year-old quipped: “It didn’t finish yet… it is just starting.”
Real Madrid superstar 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.
The Portugal captain has come out on top in four of the past five years, with 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 Ronaldo will occupy football fans for some time to come.