Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that it hurts to see rival Lionel Messi in tears, putting aside the Barcelona-Real Madrid rivalry. Argentinian captain Messi was pictured in tears after losing the Copa America final to Chile via a penalty-shootout in which he had fluffed his penalty.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have, for long, been battling to be “the greatest footballer on the planet”, sharing the Ballon d'Or between them the last six times. Yet, in a press conference prior to Portugal’s Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales, Ronaldo sympathised with Messi and said that he had taken a tough decision.
“[Messi] has made a tough decision [to retire from international football] and people should understand it,” he said, reported DailyMail. Messi had hinted at retirement from international football after three losses in three consecutive finals, bringing despair to fans and Argentinians.
Ronaldo also said that missing a penalty did not make Messi a bad player. Ronaldo himself had missed a penalty against Austria in the group stages of the Euro 2016.
Ronaldo said, “He isn’t accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finishing second. Missing a penalty doesn’t make you a bad player.
“It hurts to see Messi in tears and I hope he returns to his country one day because they need him,” DailyMail reported.
Portugal have reached the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championships and will take on Wales on Wednesday, but the captain will be concerned about his team’s performance so far, with Portugal winning none of their matches in regular time so far. They had drawn all their group-stage matches, won their round of 16 match against Croatia in extra-time and went past Poland only through penalties in the quarter-finals.