The constant comparisons between Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi went into overdrive when Ronaldo directly challenged the Argentinian striker to join him in Italy's Serie A, where he now plays for Juventus.
"I played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, in the national team, while he is still in Spain, Ronaldo told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Maybe he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy. I would like him to come to Italy one day. He should do like me and accept the challenge."
While that might sound like something deliberately meant to roil Barcelona's marquee star, Ronaldo conceded that in the end, it's all about what makes you happy. "But if he's happy there then I respect that," Ronaldo continued. "He's a fantastic footballer, a great lad, but I'm not missing anything here. This is my new life and I'm happy."
Messi, who finished ahead of Ronaldo in ESPN's annual futbol rankings, responded to Ronaldo's challenge. "Accepting Ronaldo's challenge to join Italian football? I don't need any change," the Barcelona forward told Marca this week. "I'm at the best team in the world. My challenges are renewed year after year. I do not need to change teams or leagues to set new goals. I am at home and I do not need to change."
Whether they like it or not, Messi and Ronaldo will forever be inextricably linked to one another. They're the only two soccer players to win the yearly Ballon d'Or—for best male footballe—five times each, and together, have defined am entire generation of European soccer. "This is not a contest between me and Messi—I just do my job and I've been successful in each club I've played in and this is the most important thing," Ronaldo said about their rivalry. "I don't like being compared with others, it's not fair...I've even changed my life and left my comfort zone, accepting this challenge which has gone well. I believed in myself and proved to the people that I'm still an incredible footballer."
We're guessing both stars are living their best life no matter where they're playing.