Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has revealed that he was surprised at Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid earlier this summer.
The Portugal captain joined Italian League champions Juventus this summer after ending his nine year reign with Los Blancos.
He won four Champions League titles with the Galacticos to bring his tally to five and became the most successful player in the history of the club competition.
However, his £100 million move to the Old Lady seems to have made Juve favourites to win the European elite club competition.
Messi believes Ronaldo played a a crucial role in Los Blancos’ three consecutive Champions League titles, but opted for a new adventure in Italy.
Meanwhile, the 31-year-old thought his arch rival would stay at the Bernabeu for the rest of his career.
And the Barcelona superstar believes their rivals are severely weakened by Ronaldo’s departure.
“Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world with a great squad (but) it’s evident that the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo makes them less good and makes Juventus (one of the) clear favourites to win the Champions League,” he said.
“It surprised me. I didn’t imagine him leaving Madrid or joining Juventus.
“There were a lot of teams that wanted him. It surprised me but he went to a very good team.”
Messi has been linked with a move away from Barcelona over the years due to his status as, arguably the best player in world football.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, backed by financial powerhouses, could potentially afford to sign the Argentina international but Messi has quashed any idea he could leave the Nou Camp.
“I have everything here,” he told Catalunya Radio. “I came here at 13 and I’ve had my whole life here.
“I’m at the best team in the world and in one of the best cities. I have no need to go anywhere else.”