Cristiano Ronaldo says he has a strictly professional relationship with Lionel Messi and is not friends with the Argentina international.
The pair have been painted as fierce rivals in recent years, with both players competing for the same club and individual honours.
But, though he admits they are not close, Ronaldo is adamant there are no issues between the two of them and expressed his respect for the Barcelona man.
“He (Messi) is a great player,” Ronaldo told beIN sport.
“I have a professional relationship (with him) like I have with other players.
“I’m not friends with him because we don’t share the same dressing room. I respect him like a professional. We’re not real friends, just friends through our profession. There are no issues between the two of us.
“It’s not just now, it’s been the same for the last five years. I can’t control it,” he added, referring to the media attention over their perceived rivalry.
Neither player found the back of the net on Sunday as Real recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over Zaragoza, while Barcelona saw off Celta Vigo 3-1.