The frostiness between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi seems to have well and truly thawed.
Having spent the last decade-and-a-half battling each other for footballing supremacy, Ronaldo has extended an olive branch by inviting his old adversary round for dinner.
The pair chatted in a friendly, if a little awkward, interview together in Monaco Thursday night at the Champions League draw. Both players were nominated for UEFA Male Player of the Year, although perhaps their first topic of conversation around the dinner table will be that both went home empty-handed after Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk pipped them to the prize.
Before the awards were dished out, fans were given a glimpse of their seemingly ever-improving relationship.
The Portuguese star said: "We have not had dinner together yet, but I hope so in the future. It's great to be a part of the history of football. I am there, and of course, he is as well.
“We share the stage for 15 years, me and him. I don’t know if that’s ever happened in football; the same two guys on the same stage all the time. It’s not easy, as you know. And, of course, we have a good relationship. We’ve not had a dinner together yet, but I hope in the future [we will].”
“Of course, I miss playing in Spain,” Ronaldo commented. “We’ve had that battle for the last 15 years, which is good – he pushed me and I pushed him as well. So, it’s good to be part of the history of football. I’m there and, of course, he is there as well.”
The pair consistently smashed records while playing for Spain’s two giants, before Ronaldo left La Liga to join Juventus last season after nine years at the club. Both scored over 300 goals for their club in that time, while last year was the first time in ten years that neither player won the Ballon d’Or after Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric broke their stranglehold on the title.
Last night’s ceremony also saw England’s Lucy Bronze named Uefa Women’s Player of the Year. The right-back beat Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry, both teammates of hers at Lyon – the French club side have dominated over the last three years – to the award.
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