The injured Barcelona forward says he is not in competition with the Real Madrid star, adding that he will not force his recovery just to return for the Clasico next month.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi insists he doesn’t see himself as being in competition with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo despite the constant comparisons that exist between the pair.
As individuals, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the game for the best part of the last decade, with the last seven Ballon d’Ors won by one of the two.
That’s expected to become eight in January, with Messi tipped to win it back from Ronaldo, who has won it for the last two years.
However, the Argentine is adamant neither of them are spurred on by the heights the other is hitting.
“These are things that [other] people say,” Messi said when asked about his rivalry with the Portuguese international in an interview with Yahoo!.
“I don’t compete with Cristiano and I suppose he would not compete with me — what I want is the very best for my teams and that’s what I am working for.”
Messi is currently sidelined with a knee injury until the middle of next month, with Barca due to visit Ronaldo’s Madrid on November 21.
The Catalan side hope to have him back for that trip to the Spanish capital, but the 28-year-old is not setting himself any deadlines and will only come back when the time is right.
“[I will return] when I’m feeling [better] and the doctors tell me that I can,” he continued.
“I am improving every day without setting myself any targets. I have always said that I don’t set myself any dates because it isn’t up to me.
“As much as I would like to play tomorrow, the doctors wouldn’t let me. When they tell me that I have recovered completely will be the time that I will make my return onto the pitch.
“Being injured is the worst feeling in the world for a sportsman, but right from the start I accepted that I had an injury and that the only thing to do was to recover from it the best way possible.”
Once he’s back in action, Messi says he doesn’t ”want to look too far ahead” in relation to his professional future because he is happy in La Liga with Barcelona.
He did also admit that he has made subtle changes to his diet to keep his performances at the very top level, although he wanted to point out that some of the stories published regarding those changes have been exaggerated.
As for life away from Barca, Messi refused to accept that his relationship with Argentina will always be one of love-hate.
“The truth is I don’t [accept that],” he added, “because I know very well that while the majority of us Argentines are very passionate, we also treat the stars who represent us well.
“There are some who insult us and do not value those who play for their country, but even then I don’t reproach them because everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
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