The rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has defined European football for the past 15 years, with the two players’ winning 10 Ballon D’Or awards between them since 2008. Ronaldo has now discussed his relationship and rivalry with the Barcelona legend in a new joint interview conducted at the Champion’s League draw in Monaco.
Romelu Lukaku has hit back at criticism from Gary Neville by saying the pundit should “never say I am unprofessional”.
The Belgium striker, 26, was also called “overweight” by the former Manchester United defender on Twitter.
Lukaku left the Old Trafford club this summer to join Serie A side Inter Milan for £74m on a five-year deal.
“Don’t question my professionalism,” Lukaku told BBC Sport. “I live for this game. I am at home all the time. I try to do everything to improve.”
In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport’s Simon Stone in Milan, Lukaku spoke about:
Seeing his Inter move as a blessing but being “grateful” to United
Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez being “scapegoats” for wider problems at the club
Disputing boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s claims of being “unfit”
Working under “the best manager in the world” in Antonio Conte
Former Chelsea and West Brom striker Lukaku joined United from Everton for £75m in 2017, scoring 42 goals in 96 games for the club – but managing just 15 last season.
And, after the appointment of Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho last December, he struggled to get into the team with Marcus Rashford preferred up front.
Lukaku said: “He (Neville) can talk about my fitness but he should never say anything about my professionalism, that I don’t work hard enough. That is something he cannot say. All the coaches I have had say the same thing about me.
“What did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer say when I was on the training ground? What did he say? That I always work hard and always do my best to try and improve myself. Same with Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez. Now Antonio Conte will say it.
“Last year was just a bad year. It happens in football. You just have to move on. I am not going to sit here and react in a negative way.
“We are grown men. He is a pundit. He gets paid to say this kind of stuff. I am paid to play football. I just want to do my best for Inter Milan. That is it.”
‘I will always be respectful to United’
Lukaku’s move meant he became the third most expensive signing by a Serie A club after the Juventus duo of Cristiano Ronaldo (£99.2m) and Gonzalo Higuain (£75.3m).
He joins a club which last won a trophy in 2011 when Inter claimed the Italian Cup, while his brother Jordan plays in the league for Lazio.
“I call myself a student of the game,” said Lukaku. “I try to watch as many games as possible. The tactical side was the most important thing for me to improve. I am 26 – I want to improve different aspects of my game.
“When I was growing up, Italy had Ronaldo, Adriano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They were three players I looked up to as a kid. For me that was really interesting.
“My brother is playing here. Playing at Inter Milan is a blessing
El futbolista portugués y el argentino estuvieron presentes en la configuración de los grupos de la próxima edición de la Liga de Campeones. La presentadora del evento les entrevistó a ambos en un momento donde hablaron de su relación.
Cristiano Ronaldo y Lionel Messi estuvieron, una vez más, entre los nominados para hacerse con galardones individuales a raíz de su desempeño en la pasada campaña del máximo torneo continental. Hubo un breve tramo de la ceremonia donde se les hicieron varias preguntas conjuntamente, donde ambos hablaron sobre cómo se llevan. El primero en contestar fue el del FC Barcelona, que dijo lo siguiente:
“Era una rivalidad linda, sobretodo porque estaba en el Real Madrid también, ahora está en un gran equipo también y lo vemos desde España“. El de la Juventus, en inglés, incidió en lo mismo: “Hemos compartido este escenario quince años, yo y él. No sé si eso ha ocurrido nunca en el fútbol que los dos mismos chicos hayan estado en el mismo escenario todo el tiempo, no es fácil. Por supuesto, tenemos una buena relación. No hemos cenado juntos todavía“. En ese momento se produjeron risas entre el público.
Along with being a basketball star, Lonzo Ball is known for spreading his wings in the music scene. Having dropped a few singles and the project Born 2 Ball over the years, Lonzo has just shared a new track which seemingly takes aim at his former Los Angeles Lakers team.
After a couple of tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, Ball was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. In his track “Last Days” he touches upon the events stating, “You know I’m all about business LA is going to regret their decision.” As you can imagine, fans took that as a diss towards the Lakers although it’s probably m
Cristiano Ronaldo said he hoped Lionel Messi would join him for dinner one day while the rivals were at a glitzy soccer ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Ronaldo and Messi have been inseparable at the highest echelons of their sport for more than a decade, as both have helped their respective teams to domestic and European trophies, scooping up the majority of individual prizes to boot.
But on Thursday they demonstrated their rivalry may be a friendly one when the Juventus FC striker extended an invitation for a night together.
“We shared the stage 15 years, me and him,” Ronaldo, sitting next to Messi, said at the UEFA Champions League group-stage draw, a broadcast by BT Sport showed.
MONACO — Missing out on the Champions League title in his first season at Juventus still pains Cristiano Ronaldo.
Had it not been for the quarterfinal loss to Ajax last season, Ronaldo might not have been leaving Thursday’s UEFA group stage draw and awards ceremony empty-handed. So the three-time UEFA player of the year has a renewed hunger heading into the group stage, where Juventus was paired with Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.
It is a swift reunion with Atletico after their round-of-16 meeting last season, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-leg hat trick overturned a 2-0 deficit to send the Italian champions through before they fell to Ajax.
“It’s the hardest competition there is to win,” said Ronaldo, who lifted the European Cup once with Manchester United and four times with Real Madrid. “I’m really up for it.”
But as Ronaldo observed: “The favourite doesn’t always win. Look at Barcelona letting in four at Anfield. Everyone thought we would beat Ajax and we didn’t. The same happened to Madrid.”
Ajax’s astonishing run to the semifinals saw the Dutch side oust Real Madrid in the last 16. Barcelona looked to be coasting into the final before throwing away a 3-0 lead over Liverpool by losing 4-0 at Anfield.
It is the luck of the draw, but while the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid got groups with heavyweight rivals, the Premier League’s quartet will all be happy with their outcomes.
Tottenham landed Bayern Munich, but will expect to overcome Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade, while Liverpool and Manchester City will expect to coast through as group winners and Chelsea are favoured to take Group H.
The two clubs were paired together in the group stage for the third successive season, so it might take an imaginative publicity campaign to tempt supporters to turn out for this fixture again. City’s executives will be happy to land yet another group lacking big-name glamour, but their fans might have wished for a bit more star quality.
Group F is the most difficult
Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter were drawn together in Group F, alongside Slavia Prague, whose cheerful directors chuckled at the prospect of three huge games in the Czech capital. It will be different for the hierarchy at the other three, however, with concerns over missing a top-two spot due to the strength of competition.
Messi and Ronaldo get along
In recent years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have sat stony-faced with each other, as they wait to discover who has won the Player of the Year and Forward of the Year awards. This time around, the pair were laughing and joking — mainly at Eric Cantona’s speech — before the prizes were announced. Messi claimed best forward, but both missed out to Virgil van Dijk for the big one.
Having been given the UEFA President’s Award, convention dictated that Cantona give an acceptance speech. Dressed in jeans, creased shirt and flat cap, the former Manchester United forward made the most of his moment by quoting Shakespeare and discussing science and the ageing of cells, before
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo praised his long-term rival Lionel Messi at the UEFA Champions League draw, saying he hopes the pair have dinner together “in the future”.
Who is the best player in the world, Ronaldo or Messi?
The rivals are widely regarded as two of the greatest players of all time, shared the pitch many times in epic El Clasico battles and have 10 Ballons d’Or split evenly between them. However, Ronaldo wants the pair to become great friends after their playing days.
After the Champions League draw in Monaco, Ronaldo and Messi were interviewed together before the winner of the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year was announced.
Asked if he missed the rivalry with Messi since leaving Real Madrid for Juventus, Ronaldo said: “I was curious because we shared this stage for 15 years, me and him.