Football supporters think of creative ways to get under their rivals’ skins and one of the greatest players of all time is a big target
The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was at its peak when both players were duking it out in La Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
However, things have simmered down somewhat since Ronaldo made the decision to sign for Juventus in 2018, reducing the number of direct showdowns between the pair.
In fact, despite their heated competitive relationship as athletes, Ronaldo showed that there was no genuine animosity in 2019, suggesting at a Champions League event that they should have dinner together.
Messi said that he would “obviously” accept Ronaldo’s dinner offer, stressing that he has “no issue” with the iconic Portugal star.
“We might not be friends because we’ve never shared a dressing room together but I always see him at award shows and there’s no problem,” the Argentine told Sport.
“We actually spoke with each other for quite a long time at the most recent show.
“I don’t know if there will be a dinner because I don’t know if our paths will cross for obvious reasons, each one of us has our own life and our own commitments. But obviously I would accept the invitation.”
So, if there is no rift between Messi and Ronaldo, why do some fans still insist on feverishly chanting “Messi! Messi!” at Ronaldo?
Why do fans chant ‘Messi, Messi’ at Cristiano Ronaldo?
Simply put, fans chant “Messi! Messi!” at Ronaldo in an attempt to rile him, either to put him off his game through distraction or to rub salt in his wounds when things don’t go his way.
The choice of using Messi’s name is, of course, blatantly obvious: the two have dominated the football landscape for the guts of two decades, spurring each other on in search of goals and prizes.
Indeed, in 10 years from 2008 to 2017, Ronaldo and Messi won five Ballons d’Or each, with Messi inching ahead of Ronaldo after winning a sixth in 2019.
While he may have mellowed in his veteran years, when he was younger Ronaldo was reportedly driven by a desire to better Messi to an extreme degree.
Therefore, football fans who chant Messi’s name at Ronaldo are trying to tap in to that complex.
Have Ronaldo and Messi had that dinner yet? 🍽pic.twitter.com/94BZxIZE6x
— Goal (@goal) October 1, 2020
The chants of ‘Messi! Messi!’ are frequently directed at Ronaldo when he is on international duty with Portugal, with fans of smaller nations in particular seeking to get under his skin.
Notable examples include Portugal games against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Euro 2012 qualifying, Denmark at Euro 2012, Albania in Euro 2016 qualifying and Luxembourg in Euro 2020 qualifying.
He was also subjected to Messi chants at the 2017 Club World Cup against Al-Jazira during his time at Real Madrid.
The Messi chants have even followed Ronaldo to Italy, with Lazio fans prompting a reaction from him after they defeated Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana in 2019.
The forward often responds to the chants and usually his approach is to encourage them, but he is quick to make reference to them when he scores, by ironically cupping his ear or telling his detractors to be quiet.