FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi believes rivals Real Madrid are a weakened team and that Juventus are this season’s clear favourites since their surprise signing of Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.
Ronaldo secured an £88.8million move to the Italian side at the end of July, to end a nine-year spell in Spain and a sporting rivalry in La Liga with Messi, while both competing for individual and team honours. And in the past decade the pair have ruled the football world winning 5 Ballon d’Ors each.
“Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and they have a great squad [but] it’s evident that the absence of Ronaldo makes them less good and makes Juventus [one of the] clear favourites to win the Champions League,” Messi told Catalunya Radio in a show broadcast on Monday.
“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 has gone to a very good team.”
Meanwhile having gone three seasons without winning the Champions League, Messi admitted it was his major goal this season.
“It’s time [to win it again].” he said.
“We have been knocked out in the quarterfinals in the last three seasons. Last season’s result in Rome hurt especially, but we have a spectacular squad and we can fight for it [this season].”
Ironically despite the Portuguese superstar proving a major draw in Italy, he has failed to score for Juventus in his three Serie A starts for the club, since his blockbuster summer move, whilst Real Madrid and Barcelona have won their opening three matches and are joint top of the table on nine points.