Revealing comments from the Portuguese give interesting take on a huge aspect of his career.
“I don’t have rivalries with players. I never have. It’s not part of my ethics. It was a good challenge with Messi. All of you liked it and it was very interesting. But I never saw it as a rivalry”
Now let’s not be niave. We all know how fiercely competitive Ronaldo is. We’ve been watching him at it for nearly fifteen years. There is a dense determination and hunger that drives the forward on to greatness, but his recent words would not all be carefully chosen and diplomatic.
Let’s face it. There is nothing ordinary about Cristiano Ronaldo. The forward has a level of dedication to his craft which borders on fanaticism.
His antics and ego on the pitch can be unpalletable at times, leading to open hostility towards him. And yet it’s this fire which has driven him on from a skinny winger at Manchester United doing step overs, to Real Madrid and five Ballon D’ors.
He has made himself the player he is by force of will and ambition to not just be great but the best in the world. Therefore it’s no surprise that Ronaldo views his massively dubbed rivalry with Messi as a good challenge rather than a fierce rivalry.
Everyone’s a rival.
Ronaldo’s move to Juventus will not blunt this fierce desire to achieve. The Real Madrid- Barcelona dynamic will be gone but the Portuguese forward will still have an eye on what Messi does this season.
In fact, he will likely have his eye on what everyone does this season. Such is the nature and DNA of a player like Ronaldo, he will view Hazard, Salah, Mbappe and De Bruyne as competition to exceed.
The media has no doubt blown up the Messi – Ronaldo rivalry, with so much hot air. But make no mistake, if you are a top player kicking a ball anywhere, Ronaldo will want to do it exponentially better than you.