Ronaldo made the €100 million move to Turin over the summer from European champions Real Madrid, ending the direct Ronaldo-Messi superstar rivalry played every season in La Liga’s ‘El Clasico’. Italy became the fourth major European league in which Ronaldo plied his trade, after Spain, England and his native Portugal.
In an interview with Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ronaldo hinted that the nomadic nature of his career was one reason that set him apart from fellow five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
“Maybe he misses me. I played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, in the national team, while he is still in Spain,” Ronaldo said.
“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.”
The 33-year-old has been quick to throw shade at his former employers, praising his Juventus teammates as the “best group” he has played in and which possesses a “family” atmosphere that was lacking during his time at Santiagio Bernabeu.
“It’s not fair to name just a few [differences], but I can say that this is the best group I’ve ever played. Here we are a team, elsewhere someone feels bigger than others but here they are all on the same line, they are humble and want to win.
“If (Paulo) Dybala or (Mario) Mandzukic do not mark, you still see them happy, smile. For me it is beautiful, I perceive the difference. Even in Madrid they are humble but here I feel they are more so. It is very different from Madrid, this is more a family.”
On Sunday, Messi watched from the stands at Ronaldo’s old Bernabeu stomping ground, one of the 72,000 fans who turned up to watch an electric Copa Libertadores 2018 final between Buenos Aires arch enemies River Plate and Boca Juniors, which River won 3-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.