Cristiano Ronaldo in an unusual manner has urged his greatest rival, Lionel Messi to rescind his decision and return to playing for Argentina.
It will be recalled that after missing a penalty in the Copa America final as Argentina fell agonisingly short against Chile Messi decided to call time on his international career.
It was the fourth defeat in a major international tournament for the Barcelona man, providing rare blemishes on an otherwise immaculate CV.
The personal rivalry between Ronaldo and his Barcelona counterpart is well known, with the two seemingly locked in two-man duel for individual pre-eminence in world football in recent years.
The Real Madrid star is preparing for one of the biggest games in his international career, a Euro 2016 semi-final clash against Wales, which makes it even more surprising that offered Messi words of support.
Ronaldo says he hopes that Messi reconsiders his international tournament and sympathised with the Argentine over his shootout miss.
‘Messi has taken a tough decision and people should understand. He is not accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finish the second. Missing a penalty does not make you a bad player,’ Ronaldo told Mundo Deportivo.
‘It hurts to see Messi in tears and I hope he returns to his country, because he needs it.’
Ronaldo, like Messi has never won an international tournament. The closest the 31-year-old came was in the upset defeat to Greece in his home tournament back in 2004.