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Ronaldo, Messi Rivalry Could Change – Valverde

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Ernesto Valverde has said that Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus could be a turning point in his rivalry with Lionel Messi. Barcelona and Real Madrid’s encounters were taken up a notch following Ronaldo’s move to the Bernabeu in 2009, and Ronaldo and Messi have won every Ballon d’Or for the last decade. Real Madrid are yet to make a big-money signing to fill the gap left by Ronaldo, but Valverde is still expectant to see if they try to replace him before the window shuts on Aug. 31 and is interested in seeing how they cope without
him. “Ronaldo’s departure would seem to have ended the competition between Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo because people rarely mention one without mentioning the other,” Valverde told Barca Magazine. “A lot of people are interested, me too, to see how it will affect Real Madrid’s football and what they might do in the transfer market, and also knowing that Ronaldo is at another club and what that might mean for La Liga and the Champions League too.”

Meanwhile, Valverde has welcomed four new players to his squad this summer in the form of Malcom, Clement Lenglet, Arthur and Arturo Vidal. The Barcelona boss won La Liga and the Copa del Rey in his first season at Camp Nou but is hoping to do better in the Champions League after their quarterfinal defeat to Roma last season. “I’d like to keep the same team spirit that we had last season. It’s not always easy to do that throughout a whole season, especially in a team like ours that always plays to attack,” Valverde said. “Opponents generally haven’t stopped us playing in matches and that’s essential if you want to maintain your consistency and end up as champions. I think we have to keep that. “We made a huge effort to always stick together, both in attack and defence. We had a horrible day against Roma and we have to be careful in those one-off situations. In competitions like those, the Champions League or the World Cup, it can all come down to a single mistake on a single day



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