Barcelona FC star Lionel Messi told Shortlist.com on June 11 he's never had a rivalry with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lionel Messi has said it: There's no rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Messi also told Shortlist (via Mirror Online's Hamish MacKay) on June 11 it was the media which made people think there was one.
"There is no rivalry," he said. "It's something the media invented. We both want to do well for our clubs; it is not Messi vs. Ronaldo. It has never been."
MacKay stresses Messi and Ronaldo have been at the forefront of the FIFA Player of the Year award for seven years. They are considered as the best football players in the world.
In addition, MacKay says they have broken each other's scoring records time and time again.
Messi has averaged 55.8 goals for his team and country per season. On the other hand, Ronaldo has averaged 57.2 goals during that same span, per Mirror Online.
Messi has scored a total of 412 goals for Barcelona while Ronaldo has amassed 313 goals in 300 games. The latter is just 10 goals short of Barcelona's all-time club record, per MacKay.
Aside from downplaying the rivalry with Ronaldo, Messi also told Shortlist (via Mirror Online) he holds Ronaldo's former teammate, Wayne Rooney, in high regard. Messi actually believes Rooney can do well in La Liga:
"If you look at the technical ability of a player like Wayne Rooney, he is as good as any player in Europe.
"Rooney has exceptional quality. Not just great technical ability, but also works very hard for this team. I'm sure Manchester United will never want him to leave, though."
In another development, FIFA's director of communications and public affairs Walter De Gregorio resigned on June 11, just three days after he cracked a joke about FIFA during a television talk show, per ESPN.
De Gregorio appeared on German television station SRF on June 8. As the show was about to wrap up, host Roger Schawinski asked De Gregorio to share his favorite FIFA joke.
De Gregorio asked Schawinski who would be driving a car if he, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke were in car, per ESPN.
De Gregorio said, "The police."
He was the first FIFA official to face the media when several members of the organization were arrested for alleged corruption in a Swiss hotel last month. De Gregorio's deputy, Nicolas Maingot, will replace him on an interim basis.
FIFA announced De Gregorio will remain with the organization as a consultant until the end of 2015, per ESPN.
In a statement, Valcke thanked De Gregorio for his contributions, per ESPN:
"Walter has worked incredibly hard for the past four years and we are immensely grateful for all he has done.
"I am glad we will be able to continue to draw on his expertise until the end of the year."
Blatter, who was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president on May 29 but resigned just four days later, told FIFA's official magazine (via ESPN) he is proud of how the organization has been holding up during this difficult time.
"FIFA is going through difficult times," he said. "This makes me all the more proud that our organization runs smoothly in a crisis."
FIFA's executive committee will convene in Zurich on July 20 to decide on the date of the election for FIFA's next president. According to ESPN, the time frame is sometime between Dec. 2014 to Feb. 2015.
The ESPN update says De Gregorio had served as Blatter's senior aide since 2011.
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