Lionel Messi says despite the current hype around Cristiano Ronaldo, he has been “playing well for years”.
Ronaldo was pivotal to Portugal’s qualification for Brazil 2014, scoring all four goals in a 4-2 aggregate victory over Sweden last week.
The two superstars are both in line for the Ballon d’Or, and have been pitted against each other in the media recently, after Fifa president Sepp Blatter revealed – supposedly as a joke – that he prefers the Argentine.
However, Messi was full of respect for his rival in an interview with HotSportingTruth, saying that the World Cup will benefit from Ronaldo’s presence.
“Of course I’m pleased that Portugal will be there. The best teams have to be in the competition, because if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.
“I think it’s good for the World Cup that Cristiano will be there. He’s a great player. Right now everyone’s talking about how well he’s playing, but he’s been playing well for years, both for club and country.”
The 26-year-old forward, who has been linked with an unlikely move to Bayern Munich, says he has no plans to leave Barcelona. He is contracted to the Spanish champions until June 2018.
“I’m honoured every time my name is linked to other big clubs. It’s true a lot of teams have shown interest in me, but my position hasn’t changed,” he says.
“This is the football I like and to play at Barcelona has always been my dream. I’m not having a great season so far, but after Christmas, when the toughest part of the calendar arrives, I hope to be ready.”
Messi is currently nursing a hamstring injury.


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