International soccer superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi aren't strangers to one another, and both players have ravenous fans. The two legendary players battled for years in Spain for for rival clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Unfortunately their rivalry is put on hold thanks to Ronaldo's $114 million transfer to Italy and super club Juventus this past summer. "I feel that the time has come to begin a new stage of my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept my transfer," he said in a statement in July.
It appears the Portuguese winger misses his adversary, suggesting that Messi "maybe needs more," and invited him to join him in Serie A (the top league in Italy). Ronaldo extends this invitation despite any indication from Messi that he intends to leave Spain.
According to Chris Burton of GOAL.com, Barcelona brass suggest that Messi is content with staying put at Camp Nou and might be finishing his career as a one club player. When asked if he missed Messi, Ronaldo didn't hold back in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. “No, maybe he misses me," the winger exclaimed.
“I played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, in the national team, while he is still in Spain. 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. Like me, accept the challenge.
However, if he is happy there, I respect him. He is a fantastic player, a good guy but I do not miss anything here. This is my new life and I'm happy.”
Heading to one of Italy's super clubs where anything less than a league championship doesn't constitute much of a challenge, but maybe Ronaldo is on to something. Sports are infinity better when rivalries are involved.
Think of some of the top rivalries in sports. Red Sox/Yankees, Lakers/Celtics, and Ohio State/Michigan. No matter the sport, rivalries play a key role and allow people to become more invested.
The Messi v. Ronaldo rivalry is one of the best in sports. It's unlikely that both athletes miss each other. However, it's likely they need one another. We aren't guaranteed an "El Classico" showdown anymore, but we must wait patiently for a favorable draw in the UEFA Champions League.
May the odds be in our favor.