In those nine years, he went toe to toe with the Argentine and the pair conquered the football world all by themselves, winning all the Ballon d’Ors between them in that timeframe.
El Clasicos with both Messi and Ronaldo were spectacles as two of the best players in the world locked horns against each other. Messi himself has now stated that the matches between the eternal rivals were more special when the Portuguese was also playing in them.
Lionel Messi on Ronaldo:— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) January 15, 2020
"It was a special duel and it will remain forever, because it lasted many years and it is not easy to maintain certain levels for a long time, plus the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barça, the two best in the world." pic.twitter.com/TtCsJbkXHj
"Obviously, when Cristiano was at Real Madrid, the matches were always special," Messi said, as per Goal.
"The matches against Real always mean a lot, but when Cristiano was there they became much more special.
"But it's a time that has passed now, that we have experienced. Now, we have to look ahead to the future."
Speaking of their rivalry, Messi stated that the duel between the two has been engraved in the minds of everyone.
"It was a special duel and it will remain [in people's minds] forever, because it lasted for many years and it is not easy to maintain such levels for a long time. Plus, the teams we played in were also very demanding, both Real Madrid and Barca, the two best teams in the world," Messi said of their rivalry.