Messi Salutes Free Scoring Ronaldo

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has praised arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal-scoring prowess, as speculation mounted that the Portuguese international could be picked as World Player of the Year.
A day after picking up a Golden Boot award for scoring 46 league goals last season, more than any other player in Europe, the 26-year-old Messi paid respect to his Real Madrid rival.
“I don’t know if Cristiano Ronaldo is at his peak but he is always there scoring goals in all the games and taking part in his club and national side,” Messi told Spanish sports daily Marca and other European sports journalists.
“He has been doing that for many years and whether he is at his peak or a bit less makes no difference.”
The 28-year-old Ronaldo is emerging as a favourite to pick up this year’s Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player over four-time winner Messi.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick on Tuesday as Portugal qualified for their fourth straight World Cup finals and he tops the Spanish league scoreboard so far this season with 16 goals in 13 matches.
Messi has 11 goals from eight games in the league this season but has been side lined for up to eight weeks with a muscle tear in his left hamstring muscle, his third leg injury this season.
Messi brushed off comments in the media about his injuries, following some criticism that he should have paced himself better.
“What they say about the injury did not worry me and does not worry me because I am used to people talking and saying many things not only about the injury but about pretty much everything,” he said.
“I am sorry I cannot help my teammates now but it is an injury that heals normally and I will be back next year keen to get started.”
The Argentine international said there was no chance of his leaving Barcelona despite suggestions that some clubs would be ready to write a blank cheque to sign him.
“My intention is to stay with Barcelona for good,” Messi said. “I am grateful if what they say is true and there are people interested. It makes you proud that they say such things. But my life is with Barcelona.”
Despite picking up four World Player of the Year awards, three Golden Boots, and with Barcelona a string of Liga, King’s Cup and Champions League victories, Messi said he still dreams of winning the World Cup with Argentina.

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