Messi: I respect Ronaldo, but nothing more

The Barcelona star insists there is a mutual respect between himself and his Real Madrid counterpart, but admits that he does not count the Portuguese as a friend

Barcelona star Lionel Messi insists there is a mutual respect between himself and Real Madrid'sCristiano Ronaldo, but admits their relationship does not go beyond that.

Messi and Ronaldo are widely considered the best players of the modern era, with the debate over which of the two is the greatest splitting players, pundits and fans alike.

No player outside the superstar duo has won the Ballon d'Or since 2007 and the battle for number one, as well as their allegiance to Spanish football's rival superpowers, has led to rumours that they dislike each other.

While Messi insists that they show respect towards one another, he stopped short of saying they have a pleasant relationship.

"We are professionals that defend our teams, and rivals in this game, nothing more than that," Messi told Argentine newspaper El Grafico.

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