Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly took a dig at Lionel Messi for 'staying in a bubble' and not challenging himself at a new club

The rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to the spotlight following a fresh revelation from Thierry Marchand, the former head of foreign football for French magazine France Football.

Marchand’s personal biography of Cristiano Ronaldo titled ‘Cristiano’ contains a series of his one-on-one interviews with the Portuguese. In one of these interviews, the Manchester United superstar fired shots at Lionel Messi for staying in his comfort zone back in Barcelona prior to his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last year.

The excerpt, provided by L’Equipe, read:

‘”‘It’s so easy to stay in your bubble when you’re successful,’ he [Ronaldo] suddenly told me, without ever naming the person who animated his resentment. Not to leave your comfort zone as I have always done. Look, I dared to come to Turin, to change club, Championship, football culture.”

“I put myself in danger. I took this risk which I am sure caused me to lose the Ballon d’Or last year. I don’t regret anything, but…”

As per Marchand, the ‘but’ in the Portuguese’s statement meant that he did have regrets about the move.

The interview in question took place on 22 October in 2019. Cristiano Ronaldo even went on to say that he would quit football if Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or that year. The excerpt continued:

“I felt the sap rise. But I was still amazed when he [Ronaldo] gave me this merciless sentence, straight out of his atavistic resentment: ”If Messi wins the Ballon d’Or this year, I’ll quit football!’ The charge was as surprising as it was violent.”

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Interestingly, Messi ended up winning the Ballon d’Or award that year, becoming the first player to win it six times at that point in time. Ronaldo, however, continued with his career, apparently not acting in line with his words.

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Following a slow start to life at PSG last season, Messi has returned to the top of his game this term and is without a doubt one of the top players in Europe at the moment.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has made 18 appearances for the Parisians across all competitions so far, recording 12 goals and 14 assists to his name.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been far from his usual level since the campaign kicked off, bagging three goals and two assists for Manchester United in 16 games across all fronts.

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