Barcelona’s superstar – Lionel Messi pipped his closest rival Cristiano Ronaldo to clinch the ‘Forward of the Season’ award for the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League campaign. Messi had 285 points under his belt and interestingly, the second-placed Sadio Mane had only 109 points. During the glittering awards night in Monaco on Thursday, Ronaldo expressed his long-time desire to have dinner with Messi, adding that they have dominated football for the past 15 years like no other player in the history of the sport. “We shared the stage, me and him for 15 years. I don’t know if it has ever happened in football before, it’s not easy,” Ronaldo said on the sidelines of the UEFA awards night.
Ronaldo, who plays for Italian giants Juventus, left Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid last summer to end nine years of intense rivalry with Messi, who is an FC Barcelona icon. Messi was the UEFA Champions League top scorer and also the Liga top scorer and assist provider. Both Messi and Ronaldo were in the race for the coveted 2018-19 UEFA ‘Player of the Year Award’. But Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk pipped the starry duo to clinch the top honours.
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Ronaldo has won the Player of the Year award three times — in 2014, 2016 and 2017 — while Messi won the crown in 2011 and 2015. “We have a good relationship, we have not had a dinner together yet, but I hope to have in the future,” said Ronaldo with a smile on his face with Messi seated beside him.
Ronaldo and Messi have won the Ballon d’Or five times each.
Ronaldo also admitted that he missed playing in Spain and the rivalry with Messi.
“Of course I miss playing in Spain, we had that battle over the last 15 years. He pushed me and I pushed him as well, it’s good to be part of football history,” Ronaldo said.
There were reports recently that Ronaldo could retire by next year, but the 34-year-old said that he would continue playing. “Well, he’s two years younger than me,” Ronaldo said pointing at Messi when asked if the pair would call it a day around the same time.
“But I think I look good for my age. I hope to be here next year and in two years, three years,” Ronaldo said.