Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo has urged Lionel Messi to secure a move to Serie A after suggesting he should experience a new European league.
The Portuguese superstar has been an instant hit in Italy since his lucrative move from Real Madrid during the summer, scoring 11 goals in his first 19 matches across all competitions.
The Old lady are top of Serie A once again and have already booked their place in the Champions League knockout phase, with European glory the ultimate aim for the club after years of domestic dominance.
Ronaldo had won the European Cup three years in succession before leaving Madrid, but he chose to leave in order to experience a new challenge, as he approaches the latter stages of his career at 33-years-old.
Messi meanwhile, is still very much a one-club man, having risen through the ranks at youth level with Barcelona before becoming their all-time record goalscorer during his trophy-laden 14-year spell with the first team to date.
Ronaldo has finally admitted that he admires the Argentine and even misses their rivalry in La Liga, however, he has also shockingly challenged Messi to join him in Serie A and expand his horizons.
“I would like him to come to Italy,” the Juve star told Gazzetta Dello Sport. “Maybe I miss him a little.
“I have played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, with the national team, while he has stayed in Spain.
“Maybe, he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make it happy.
“I would like him to come to Italy one day. Do what I did, accept the challenge. However, if he is happy there, I respect that.
“He is a great player, a great guy, but here I don’t miss anything. This is my new life and I am happy.”
Messi has been in typically scintillating form for the Blaugrana so far this year, having hit 17 goals in 16 games across all competitions, most recently scoring two outstanding free-kicks during a 4-0 win at Espanyol on Saturday.
At 31-years-old the diminutive magician has never expressed a desire to leave the Nou Camp, although he has admitted in the past that he would like to return to his boyhood club in Argentina before he retires – Newell’s Old Boys.
Ronaldo’s suggestion that Messi’s greatness is somehow diminished by his loyalty to Barcelona doesn’t really bear fruit and it is highly unlikely that we will see the two men do battle in the Italian top flight anytime soon.
It would certainly be an interesting prospect to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner starring in Serie A against some of the meanest defences in Europe, but his legacy as one of the greatest players of all-time has long been secured and he will no doubt continue to wow audiences across La Liga in the famous Barca shirt for many years to come.