Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are chasing the dream of winning their sixth Ballon d'Or trophy this season. With each of them owning five, if either of them ends up winning it this year, he will surpass the other in terms of total trophies. The Portuguese captain opened up about his on-field rivalry with Messi.

Ronaldo claims to have a healthy rivalry with the Argentine icon. However, he also mentioned that the intensity was much higher when they both played in La Liga. While playing for Real Madrid CF, Ronaldo felt the heat of competing against one of the other greats of the game. Now that CR7 moved to Turin and donned the Juventus FC jersey, he feels that the rivalry is not getting the same traction.

Ronaldo also admitted that playing in the same league helped both of them become better versions of themselves. He reportedly said, "A lot of people said that we fed each other, that being together in Spain made us better. That's certainly true, I felt his presence more in Madrid than in Manchester. It was a healthy rivalry. We were the symbols of our clubs. I think he said recently that he missed me on a competitive level."

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi and Ronaldo are chasing a string of individual records Getty Images

The Ballon d'Or will be awarded in December. France Football's shortlist includes Ronaldo, Messi, and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, who is also considered to be the favourite to win the title this year. However, speculations suggest that Messi can become a threat to Van Dijk, just like during The Best FIFA awards last month.

However, the Mirror claims that Ronaldo's exclusive interview with the organisers might mean that he is actually emerging as the real contender to win the iconic title.

Historically, while Ronaldo was in La Liga, he and Messi shared the spotlight. They would surpass each other while creating new records every season. Last year, when Ronaldo joined Juve, his and Messi's dominance in European football was paused for a while as Ronaldo's former teammate, Luka Modric, won the Ballon d'Or last season. Before that, it was only the "Ronaldo and Messi Show."

Ronaldo spent nearly 9 years in Madrid between 2009 and 2018. In that time, the Portuguese megastar won four of his five Ballon d'Or trophies. In contrast, Messi had always been loyal to his club. Known for his one-club-player nature, the Argentine won all five of his trophies with Barca.