Cristiano Ronaldo insisted he never saw Lionel Messi as a rival after Juventus defeated Barcelona 3-0 in the Champions League at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Ronaldo converted two penalties and Weston McKennie where Juve claimed the comfortable win and top spot in Group G.
Messi had a game-high 11 shots, including seven on target, but Barca fell as he faced Ronaldo – who starred during nine seasons in LaLiga with Real Madrid – once more.
Ronaldo, who shared a brief embrace with Messi before the clash, said there was no rivalry between the two all-time greats.
“I have always had a very cordial relationship with him,” he told Movistar+.
“I shared 12, 13 or 14 years of award ceremonies with him. I never saw him as a rival.
“He always tries to do what is best for his team and me too. I always got along very well with him.
“But we know that in football, for the press, for the show, a rivalry is sought, but I have always gotten along well with him. I see him as always.”
Ronaldo scored his first goals against Barca in the Champions League (in his sixth appearance) and 133rd and 134th goals in the competition.
“Barcelona are going through a difficult time, but it is still Barcelona,” Ronaldo said.
“The truth is that we are very happy, we knew it was an almost impossible mission, it was a complicated mission and we played well.
“The key was to get into the game well, we scored two early and from there we believed it was possible.”