Lionel Messi believes that Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival to Juventus have transformed the Old Lady to UEFA Champions league favorites.
Messi and Ronaldo have been in one of the most heated rivalries of the modern with rivalry lasting for over a decade on both collective and individual honors.
However, the players will meet again only if the Old Lady draws the Blaugrana side in the continental stages of the UEFA Champions league. Ronaldo joined Juventus last summer for a reported £88 million.
Messi stated that Real Madrid will struggle in the continental stages without their all-time highest goal-scorer while admitting that Juventus have the edge.
“Obviously they (Madrid) are one of the best teams in the world, they have great players and squad, but yes the departure of Cristiano from the squad makes them less strong,” Messi told Catalunya Radio. “It makes Juventus a clear favorite to win the Champions League due to the squad they had before and now with him on top”. “I was surprised by his decision, I did not think he would go from Madrid nor that he would go to Juventus. There were so many teams and I heard less about Juve but it is a very good team.”
Barcelona have not won the continental showpiece since 2015 largely because of Madrid superior dominance.
Messi admitted that the club is desperate for continental success having been shown the exit door three times in the quarter finals stages of the competition.
“It is necessary because we have had three years where we have gone out in the quarter-finals and the last was the worst of the lot due to how it happened,” said Messi. “We are concentrating on this because it is possible, we have a squad where we can fight for this competition”. “In other years the Champions League evaded us, in the Guardiola era with Inter and Chelsea, due to small details”. “Each year the competition is more even with clubs investing more money to compete and bring in players. The two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Madrid, us, PSG and several Italian clubs.”