Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been one of the greatest footballers of all time playing in this generation. There has been only one player who has matched his level and that is his arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. The two icons have consistently been defying the odds and scoring in numbers, which before their arrival, was labeled as ‘impossible’.

Speaking to an Argentine radio station, Messi surprised listeners by saying he misses Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who left rivals Real Madrid for Juventus last year. “I miss Cristiano in Spain,” Messi told Radio C5N. “It was lovely having him here, even though it annoyed me seeing him win so many titles. It would be great if he was still here.”

For years now, both these footballers have been pushing each other to their best potential. Having won Five Balon’Dors each and being the only two players in the history to do so, they have set a standard for the coming generation which is beyond the peak expectations.

The clubs they have represented have benefitted massively from their contribution – they have won everything that the game has to offer on a club level. With the national team, however, Ronaldo may have gotten the monkey off his back with the Euro 2016 title but Messi and his Argentina side have struggled to win a major trophy.

Reflecting on his retirement from the national team, Messi said that his recent international sabbatical was a one-off and he has no plans to retire in the near future. Messi was also the scapegoat of Argentina’s exit from the 2018 World Cup in the second round. The 31-year-old insisted that his national side is going through a transition phase and promoting younger players to take up senior positions in the team has cost them.

“I think the generational change was very brusque,” Messi said. “It should have been done slower. You need to give the kids time and confidence. The change was a really big one.” Messi said he was still tortured by the loss of the 2014 World Cup final to Germany in extra time and warned fans not to expect too much from Argentina at this year’s Copa America in Brazil.

“Do you know the number of times I’ve replayed the final and the chances we had? It would have been so different if we’d scored one of them,” he explained. “Being realistic, a lot of work is needed to be a powerhouse. These kids have played very few matches for the national team. We need to be patient and I have no doubt that we are going to be strong.”

“I am going to stretch out my retirement as long as I can,” Messi said, adding that if he did return to Argentina it would be to play for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys. “I would love to end my career at Newell’s but it’s not easy. Sincerely, I don’t know.”