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Cristiano Ronaldo: ‘It hurts me to see Lionel Messi in tears’

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 06-07-2016 Marissa Payne
Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo trains ahead of this week’s European Championship semifinal match against Wales. © Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo trains ahead of this week’s European Championship semifinal match against Wales.

Cristiano Ronaldo may view Lionel Messi as a rival when it comes to club play, but on the world stage, the Real Madrid superstar apparently harbors a bit more tenderness toward his Barcelona counterpart.

“It hurts me to see Messi in tears,” Ronaldo said, according to Spain’s AS and Mundo Deportivo newspapers. “I hope he returns to his national team because they need him.”

Messi physically and emotionally collapsed last month after a penalty shootout against Chile in the Copa America final. Messi sailed his kick over the bar, before Chile’s Claudio Bravo saved another to seal Argentina’s fate. Chile went on to beat Argentina for the second year in a row, causing a tearful Messi to announce he was through with the national team.

Since then, everybody from Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona to singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, have petitioned Messi to change his mind. And while Messi has been spotted in public still wearing his official team gear, he has yet to rejoin his squad.

Ronaldo might be the most convincing voice yet to encourage Messi to change his mind. Like Messi, Ronaldo, too, has missed some clutch penalty kicks in his time. Just last month, Ronaldo dropped an opportunity to win a group match against Austria at the European Championships on a penalty kick, but he missed it. In fact, Ronaldo’s missed three penalty kicks for Portugal over the years, according to TransferMarkt.com. Messi has missed four with Argentina — this was his first, however, in a penalty shootout.

“[Messi] is not used to defeats and disappointments, not even to finishing second,” Ronaldo added. “To miss a penalty does not make you a bad person.

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