Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo would like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to leave Spain and rekindle their rivalry by joining him in the Italian top flight, report agencies. Two talismanic performers who have cemented standings among the all-time greats spent nine years battling for supremacy in Spain prior to a stunning summer transfer window.
Ronaldo’s decision to leave Real Madrid for Turin in a €100 million (£90m/$114m) deal has left Messi as the standalone five-time Ballon d’Or winner in La Liga.
Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the global football landscape for a decade, each winning the Ballon d’Or five times before Croatia international midfielder Luka Modric broke their stranglehold by claiming the coveted award this year.
“I’d like (Messi) to come to Italy one day,” Ronaldo told reporters. “I hope he accepts the challenge like me, but if he’s happy there then I respect that.”
Asked if he missed his rivalry with Messi, Ronaldo suggested it might be the other way round.
“No, maybe it’s him who misses me,” he said. “I’ve played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and for my national team, while he’s still in Spain. Maybe he needs me more.”
“For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy. I would like him to come to Italy one day. Like me, accept the challenge.
“He is a fantastic player, a good guy but I do not miss anything here. This is my new life and I’m happy.”
A duopoly enjoyed by two iconic performers is said to be over, after a decade of dominance, but neither Ronaldo nor Messi are showing any sign of slowing down despite now being into their 30s.
The former has plundered 11 goals for Juventus so far this season, while the latter continues to send records tumbling in Spain and has taken his tally across all competitions in 2018-19 to 17 in as many games.