BARCELONA star Lionel Messi privately has the utmost respect for Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo after the La Liga winners added the Champions League to their collection last night, reports claim.
Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 12th time after a 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff.
It means that Zinedine Zidane’s side have now completed a league and European double, for the first time since the 1950s.
Barcelona, while not finishing the season empty-handed, have ended up just winning the Copa del Rey.
And Spanish outlet Diario Gol say that Messi has the utmost respect for Barcelona’s fiercest rivals after they won the prize.
Real Madrid’s Champions League player ratings against
Express Sport brings you Real Madrid’s player ratings from the Champions League final against Juventus
Barcelona star Lionel Messi thinks Real Madrid deserved to win the Champions League
It is said that the Argentina international now recognises that Ronaldo is favourite to win the 2017 Ballon d’Or.
Messi also feels that Real have been superb throughout the campaign and manager Zidane has overcome obstacles aplenty on his way to winning the trophy for the second time in as many years.
The 29-year-old supposedly thinks that Barcelona have been their own worst enemy, dropping points against the lower teams and leaving themselves too much to do in the process.
Real Madrid Barcelona Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi thinks Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to win the trophy
As a result, Messi thinks Ronaldo is worthy of beating him to the honour of winning the Champions League four times throughout his career.
The former Manchester United star has added this year’s triumph to winners medals achieved in 2008, 2014 and 2016.
Real have become the first team to retain the trophy in its modern format.
And it seemed only fitting that Ronaldo played a starring role, with the 32-year-old narrowly missing out on achieving the same feat during his time with United.
By Jack Otway