Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his belief that his exploits in the Champions League are what sets him apart from Lionel Messi.
Both men have wowed audiences across the world with their superb ability on the pitch for over a decade, winning numerous individual and team honours while breaking goalscoring records for fun with their respective clubs.
The mercurial pair have shared ten Ballon d’Or awards equally between them, but they are very different players, with Ronaldo seen as the perfect goalscorer and Messi viewed as the complete all-around footballer.
Ronaldo has taken in spells with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, while Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona, which has often been used against him by those who argue that the Portuguese edges their rivalry.
The Juventus superstar has now revealed why he thinks he will be remembered as the greatest of all time ahead of the Argentine, citing his high level of performance at multiple clubs while winning five European Cups as the key difference.
“The difference with Messi is that I played for several clubs and won the Champions League with different clubs,” Ronaldo states in the new DAZN documentary ‘The Making Of’, as per the Independent.
“I was the top scorer in the Champions League six seasons in a row. There aren’t many players who won five Champions League trophies, so this is why I feel that I can identify myself with this tournament.
“Messi is an excellent player who will be remembered not just for his Ballon d’Or wins, but also for having improved – like me – year after year.
“I wake up every morning with the idea in my head of training with the objective of achieving something more, not just to earn money.
“Thank God, I don’t lack money, so what I want to earn is a place in the history of football.”
Messi has picked up 34 major trophies during his time at Camp Nou, whereas Ronaldo has 26 to his name in total, most of which were picked up during his nine-year spell at Madrid.
However, the Portugal international has also won two pieces of silverware for his country, in the form of the 2016 European Championships and the 2019 UEFA Nations League.
Messi has yet to win a single trophy on the international stage, with some fans and experts pointing to the fact he does not perform at the same level when away from Barcelona.
Ronaldo raises a legitimate point, but it is still very difficult to rank him ahead of Messi, simply because the 32-year-old remains the most watchable player in world football.
Both players still have a few years left at the top before they consider retirement and only then will it be time to judge them conclusively, with plenty more honours up for grabs across all competitions over the coming seasons.