Messi downplays Ronaldo rivalry

Premiership

Messi's achievements are often contrasted to those of Ronaldo, who he dethroned of Ballon d'Or honours in January. The pair have shared FIFA's top individual prize for the past eight years. Messi, however, maintains his focus is on helping his team. 

"The press is always looking for comparisons and those kinds of things," the 28-year-old told MBC.

"The only thing I care about is helping my team and to keep on improving each season.

"I am not comparing myself to Cristiano Ronaldo or to anyone else. I am only thinking about myself and my team-mates and winning games."

Barca host Real straight after the international break at Camp Nou. And while the La Liga leaders boast a 10-point advantage on their fierce rivals, Messi expects a tight Clasico on April 2.

"Real Madrid have some great players. They have always had some impressive stars and are one of the best teams in the world," the Argentine added.

"They are always a complicated rival for Barcelona. They always make life difficult for us in the race for the Liga title. There is a lot of competition and we always try to do better than them."

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