Rivalry with Ronaldo key to Messi’s success: Kluivert

Barcelona, Sep 6 (IANS) Lionel Messi is widely hailed as the best footballer in the world, but former Holland striker Patrick Kluivert feels that the Argentine could not have reached this level without his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi’s performances in FC Barcelona’s successful campaign in the Spanish League last season saw him clinch the Ballon d’Or in January. Real Madrid star Ronaldo had won the coveted trophy — awarded to the best player in the world — the previous two years.

Regarded as the two best players in the world, the duo share a strong rivalry which Kluivert thinks has been essential for Messi’s successes.

“Messi is in a different dimension with his football, but I also think he urgently needs someone like Cristiano Ronaldo,” Kluivert told Voetbal Zone.

“He needs someone who gives him an incentive to go for it every game, to see each match as a challenge. Both are world class and a level above the rest,” the former Barcelona star added.

Messi may be at the heart of Barcelona’s attacking prowess, but Kluivert asserted that the role of the other players in the team cannot be overlooked.

“At Barcelona, now there is only one central player: Messi. During my time, there were several important players there, though on the other hand Messi’s nothing without his team-mates,” the 39-year-old said.

Kluivert, who scored 90 goals during his stint with Barcelona from 1998-2004, asserted that he would love to return to the Nou Camp as a coach.

“Of course, it’s my dream to be coach of Barcelona. Yes, I know it is certainly a possibility which is far away, but who knows what might happen,” the Dutchman remarked.

Kluivert is currently the coach of Curacao who are placed 148th in the FIFA rankings. The Caribbean nation lost their latest World Cup 2018 qualifier 1-0 to El Salvador at home last Friday and will need to win the away leg on Tuesday to have any chance of reaching the fourth round of Concacaf qualification.

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