Ronaldo declares end of rivalry with old foe Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo says his rivalry with Lionel Messi "is gone".
The pair have dominated world football for nearly two decades, with their battle particularly intense between 2009-18 when they featured on each side of a string of spicy El Clasico battles.
But now Ronaldo is keen to draw a line under the debate as to which of the former LaLiga stars is the greatest player of all time.
He said: "I don't see things like that, the rivalry is gone.
"It was good, spectators liked it. Those who like Cristiano Ronaldo don't have to hate Messi and vice versa. We've done well, we've changed the history of football.
"We are respected all over the world, that's the most important thing."
Ronaldo now plays for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia while Messi is lighting up Major League Soccer with new club Inter Miami.
Since making the switch to the Middle East last January, Ronaldo has been followed to the Saudi Pro League by a host of the biggest names in the sport.
Neymar, Karim Benzema and N'Golo Kante are among the top talents now plying their trade in the Saudi top flight and the 38-year-old credits himself with beginning the trend.
He said: "I was the pioneer and I am proud of it. What I want most is to continue to always evolve, so that [the league] is top notch.
"I knew this [transfer market] was going to happen. I said it six months ago and everyone thought I was the crazy one. But, after all, the crazy guy is not that crazy, and it turns out to be normal to play in the Arab league.
"For me, it was a great privilege to change the culture of a country in terms of football and to have great stars go to Saudi Arabia."
Despite his performances in Saudi, Cristiano was snubbed on Wednesday night when he was omitted from the list of nominations for this year's Ballon d'Or.
Messi has been included in the 30-man shortlist and is odds-on favourite to claim the accolade for a record-extending eighth time after captaining Argentina to World Cup glory last December.