Six time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi has praised and acknowledged his counterpart and closest rival Cristiano Ronaldo claiming that a player of his stature is irreplaceable. Los Blancos and La Liga bid adieu to the Portuguese in 2018 when Ronaldo switched Real Madrid white for Juventus stripes.
In an interview ahead of the El Clasico, Barcelona captain Lionel Messi paid his respect to Cristiano Ronaldo claiming that the Portuguese is irreplaceable for Real Madrid. Los Blancos signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea for £89 million that could rise upto £150 million. However, the Belgian has failed to replicate the Stamford Bridge form in Madrid and will miss the El Clasico due to injury but Messi has backed the ex Lille player to rediscover his lost touch.
“'Hazard has a lot of quality. He is a different football player who can unbalance [defences], but I think he is different to Cristiano, with different characteristics. It is very difficult to replace Cristiano, but Hazard is also a great player,” said the Argentine.
Messi, whose side go into this week's Clasico level on points with Real Madrid, struggled to claim all three points over their rivals at the Nou Camp before last season's convincing 5-1 win. The victory was their only home win in four attempts at home against Real Madrid and Messi has found out the reason for it being that Madrid do not give them space.
“When we play at the Bernabeu, many more spaces are generated. They attack us more because they have the obligation as the host team and people push them for that. At the Nou Camp, they play another type of match, sitting a little further back, they are closer together and hit on the counter-attack because they have very fast players upfront. At the Bernabeu, we play 90 minutes equally. Here the game becomes more locked and is more complicated,” concluded the 32-year-old.
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