Lionel Messi admits he does not know if he and Cristiano Ronaldo will ever be friends as they “only see each other at awards ceremonies”.
The Barcelona forward, who has signed a new four-year contract at the Nou Camp, won his fourth European Golden Shoe award on Friday, drawing him level with his Real Madrid counterpart, who, in turn, will equal Messi in terms of Ballon d’Ors if he wins his fifth at the ceremony in January 2018.
While football fans continue to debate over who is better, Messi admits he and Ronaldo rarely spend much time together apart from at the award ceremonies where they are usually pitted against each other.
“I don’t know if we will be [friends in the future]. Friendship is built through spending time together and getting to know each other,” he told Marca.
“We have no relationship, mainly because we only see each other at awards ceremonies and that’s the only time we speak. Everything is fine, but our lives don’t cross over very often.”
Messi and Ronaldo will battle it out for the Ballon d’Or again at the start of the year but the Argentina captain believes they are not the only two players in the running for the prize.
“There are many great players around today who can win the Ballon d’Or,” he added. “In recent years there have just been two, but now players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez can compete for that award.”
Barcelona are 10 points clear of Real in La Liga and have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Messi is refusing to discount Zinedine Zidane’s side domestically or in Europe but says Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are well-placed to mount a serious Champions League challenge.
“City are one of the strongest teams at the moment, along with PSG. They’ve been the two strongest teams up to this point, but it’s a very long season,” he said.
“I never dismiss Real Madrid for what they have and their experience, even though now they aren’t getting the results people expect. Bayern Munich, too. They’re another big team that will be there at the end of the season, but it’s true that, today, City and PSG are the best.”