Two of the greatest players in the history of the beautiful game, goal machines Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a storied rivalry during their respective La Liga stints at FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. While Argentine stalwart Messi used to be the driving force of the Catalan giants at Camp Nou, Portugal captain Ronaldo remained Real Madrid’s go-to-man for almost a decade.
Arch-rivals Messi and Ronaldo also dominated the Ballon d’Or awards for 10 years. Messi won six of his record seven Ballon d’or titles at Barcelona. Five-time winner Ronaldo was crowned the best player in the world on four occasions during his stint at Real Madrid. Talking about a lesser-known incident about the Ballon d’Or awards, Messi’s former teammate Dani Alves has revealed that he had a ‘scuffle’ with Ronaldo during the ceremony of the prestigious event.
Recalling the incident on a podcast with UNAM Pumas team-mate Efrian Valverde, Alves said that Ronaldo once refused to greet him due to the Clasico rivalry. “There came a time because of the rivalry that I would go over to greet him [Ronaldo] and he wouldn’t greet me,” the former Barcelona defender said. Ronaldo and Messi have lifted the famous trophy a combined 12 out of 13 times between 2008 and 2021.
“There was a controversy that never came out, but in the dressing room of the Ballon d’Or ceremony we had a scuffle, I greeted everyone and he didn’t greet me because of what the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry was generating outside. But how can I not respect a guy who has achieved everything based on hard work and putting his heart and soul into it?,” he added.
Messi will defend his crown at the 2022 edition of the Ballon d’Or awards which will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in October. Messi’s Ballon d’Or arch-rival Ronaldo has not won a golden ball since 2017. Talking about Messi, the veteran Brazilian defender claimed that the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star belongs to ‘another world’. “He was born with the talent to play football and to be in another world that only he can reach,” Alves added.