14:23 GMT27 January 2021
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    When Ronaldo arrived in Spain in 2009 he was already a football star with millions of fans, but it’s his performance for Real Madrid that earned him the title of one of the greatest players in the history of football.

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence in the Spanish La Liga tournament is barely noticed, said league president Javier Tebas. "It certainly irritated the Real Madrid fans, but his absence was barely noticed at a league level, because the Liga brand transcends individual players", Tebas said in an interview with radio station RAC1.

    As if this was not enough to upset the 35-year-old Portuguese sports star and his fans, Tebas weighed in on a long-standing debate on the greatest football player of all time, giving the title to Ronaldo’s nemesis: Lionel Messi.

    "Only Messi is different, as he is the best player in the history of football and has always played in our league. If he had left, we would’ve felt regret, even more so if he’d gone to a different league. Messi is an icon of Spanish football and I’d urge him to retire here", Tebas said.

    Messi himself has a diametrically opposite view on Ronaldo’s departure to Italy, however. "Madrid has great players, but Cristiano scores 50 goals per season”, Messi said, commenting on the Portuguese’s absence in La Liga and adding that Ronaldo is a predatory striker.

    For years, Messi and Ronaldo competed in La Liga with their rivalry captivating the attention of millions of football fans across the world. During his nine-year stay at Real Madrid, Ronaldo won four Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two La Liga titles and won four Ballon d’Ors, the most prestigious individual football award.

    In 2018 Ronaldo moved to Juventus and his stay there was no less sucessfull. In 2018 he helped the Old Lady win Serie A and Supercopa Italiana, scoring almost 30 goals during the season. His goal-scoring abilities are still at the top level this season (24), however this year the Portuguese won’t be able to lift Copa Italia to the trophy and it’s unclear whether Juventus will win the domestic tournament.

    Lionel Messi, Juventus, Real Madrid, La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo
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