LIONEL MESSI has put rivalry aside to hail the “incredible” Cristiano Ronaldo after his Champions League heroics.
Former Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo produced a stunning display for Juventus on Tuesday to seal their place in the last-eight.
Trailing 2-0 from the first-leg to the Portuguese’s old foes Atletico Madrid, the £99m summer signing turned on the style to swing the contest on its head by firing a hat-trick in an epic 3-0 triumph.
His performance drew widespread praise as the old argument over who was the greatest out of him and Messi erupted again.
The Argentine said: “I thought that what happened with Cristiano and Juventus was incredible.
“I thought maybe Atletico would be stronger, but Juventus overwhelmed them and Cristiano had a magical night with the three goals.”
Ronaldo, of course, was also happy to talk-up his magical performance as he continues his charge towards a fifth Champions League crown in six years.
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Fresh from bagging his 124th goal and eighth hat-trick in the competition, he says his exploits against Atletico were exactly why Juventus forked out the huge sum for him in July.
The 34-year-old said: “It was meant to be a special night and it was, not just for my goals but for the attitude we showed.
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“That is the sort of mentality you need to win the Champions League.
“This was why Juventus brought me here to help do things that they have never done before.”
Messi and Ronaldo could now potentially renew their rivalry on the pitch next month.
Barcelona and Juventus could be pulled out the hat together when the draw for the last-eight is made on Friday.