Argentina star Lionel Messi has blamed the media for creating an apparent rivalry with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, insisting the pair had never crossed swords.
“It’s only the media, the press, who wants us to be at loggerheads but I’ve never fought with Cristiano,” the Barcelona forward was quoted as saying by sports daily Ole.
Messi, who said there had never been “any kind of quarrel or anything” with the Real Madrid talisman, whom he called “a great player”, was speaking in Frankfurt, before a friendly between Argentina and Germany.
Asked about his choice to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, Messi said he would choose teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, given their exploits in retaining the European championship title with Spain and the 2010 World Cup.
Messi, who scored 50 goals in La Liga last season — four more than Ronaldo — has won the prize for the last three years.
But Barcelona finished second behind Real Madrid, who set records for most La Liga wins in a season with 32, most goals scored (121) and best goal difference (plus-89) en route to a first league title in four years.
Real start their title defence this Sunday against Valencia, while Barcelona take on Real Sociedad.