Messi made Ronaldo a better player, says former Man Utd coach Rene Meulensteen

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen believes Lionel Messi made Cristiano Ronaldo a better player.

Ronaldo is moving on after nine years at Real Madrid which saw the five-time Ballon d’Or winner pick up two La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies.

During his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo managed to score 450 goals including 61 during the 2014/15 campaign.

His ability to be consistent season after season was part of the reason why Juventus had no problem splashing out €100m on a 33-year-old. The fee is a record for a player over 30 and while also making Ronaldo the fourth-most expensive player in history (for a single fee) after Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho.

The Portuguese star was in Turin on Monday finalising his move to the Italian champions as the club hope to have signed a player that can help them win the Champions League after falling just short in recent seasons.

Ex-Manchester United coach Meulensteen is just one of Ronaldo’s many admirers with the Dutchman particularly impressed with his longevity at the top level.

There has been a long running debate in football about who is better between Ronaldo and Messi and, although Meulensteen didn’t offer an opinion on the overriding question, he did offer that the Barcelona man has helped drive Ronaldo to better things.

When asked what amazes him about Ronaldo, Meulensteen told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Continuity at a high level: We all amaze ourselves for the season of Salah, but Cristiano and Messi have been playing at that level for years now.

“There were moments when Messi was unbelievable, but Cristiano, instead of sitting down, took the lead that he had to score more than he did, and he has an incredible winning mentality”.

Real Madrid were poor domestically last season despite winning their third straight Champions League crown. Zinedine Zidane left shortly after their European final victory and there is a sense of change in Madrid as Ronaldo has now followed suit.

Los Blancos are expected to bring in at least one world class replacement if not more before the start of the new season which sees Real kick-off with their Uefa Super Cup game against city rivals Atletico Madrid on August 15.

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