Barcelona: It’s not a phrase that usually gets said out loud, but you have to feel sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid player has just finished the season of his life, winning Spain’s La Liga while vanquishing the club’s hated Catalan foes Barcelona.
He scored more goals than he ever has before too, 46 in the league to be precise, and 60 overall. Yet even though Madrid finished nine points clear of second place, it is Barca’s Lionel Messi that still gets all the attention.
“Some people say I’m better, other people say it’s him, but at the end of the day, they’re going to decide who is the best player,” Ronaldo told in an interview before this weekend’s Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
“At the moment … I think it is me,” he laughs.
“Sometimes (the comparisons with Messi) makes me tired … for him too because they compare us together all the time.
“You cannot compare a Ferrari with a Porsche because it’s a different engine. You cannot compare them. He does the best things for Barcelona, I do the best things for Madrid.
“I think we push each other sometimes in the competition, this is why the competition is so high. This is why Madrid and Barcelona are the best teams in the world because everyone pushes each other, not just me and Messi but other players.”
Perhaps Ronaldo is right. The world needs the “good cop/bad cop” routine of Messi and Ronaldo to bring the best out of both them. It might be the reason why neither has set the world alight on the international stage.
But while Messi is hailed as a secular saint, Ronaldo is derided for his self-confidence, some would say over-confidence. How does he cope with the vitriol he provokes in opposition fans?
“Sometimes, you have to put on a mask. You cannot smile every time for all the people. It’s impossible, I cannot do that,” he says.
“This is not my type of personality. And people really don’t know me. And I do it for that because I don’t want every person to know me, just close friends … you know, my friends, teammates. These people know me very well. Other people, to be honest, I really don’t care about that.”