The Barcelona legend has confessed his respect for long-time rival Ronaldo and compared him to some of the biggest names in world sport.
Lionel Messi admitted Cristiano Ronaldo ‘stands out in football’ and compared the Juventus ace to the likes of Tennis icons Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, along with Basketball legend LeBron James.
The long-standing GOAT debate between Messi and Ronaldo received a new twist on Sunday night when the latter was crowned ‘Player of the Century’ at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai.
Ronaldo later confessed his pride at being acknowledged as the best player between 2001 and 2020.
Couldn’t be happier with tonight’s award! As I’m about to celebrate my 20th year as a professional footballer, Globe Soccer Player Of The Century is a recognition that I receive with so much joy and pride!@Globe_Soccer #globesoccer pic.twitter.com/sAIl3V8ezz
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 27, 2020
And now Messi has praised his rival for standing out and always doing his best.
“There are many admirable athletes. Rafa Nadal, Federer, LeBron – in all sports there is always someone who stands out and is admirable for his work,” Messi told La Sexta.
“Cristiano stands out in football. There are many who stand out and always do their best.”
Messi’s former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, won the ‘Coach of the Century’ prize in Dubai. And Ronaldo’s old club Real Madrid bagged the ‘Club of the Century’ accolade. His agent, Jorge Mendes, won ‘Agent of the Century.
Robert Lewandowski, on the other hand, took home the 2020 Player of the Year. The Pole’s team Bayern Munich won the Club of the Year. And the team’s manager Hansi Flick won Coach of the Year.
Ronaldo has also won the 2020 Golden Foot and the ceremony will be live online on Monday.
For full details on the event, including ticket prices and viewing times, check out the link below.