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Ronaldo shoots for Messi’s mark

MADRID (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo heads to Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus on the brink of realising a burning ambition of matching Lionel Messi’s record of winning the Ballon d’Or five times.

“I want to catch Messi,” Ronaldo confessed when collecting his third World Player of the Year crown back in 2015.

Now the Portuguese has four to his name, but Messi still remains one step ahead with five.

The two have dominated the award for the past decade in the battle to not just be considered the best of their generation, but among the best of all time.

Yet, whilst Juventus’s stubborn defence forced Messi to fire blanks in a 3-0 quarterfinal aggregate win for the Italians over Barcelona, Ronaldo can complete another stellar season by ensuring Madrid become the first side to retain the Champions League.

“I am aware of the fact that what I’ve done in football has already left and will continue to leave a mark,” Ronaldo told UEFA.com.

“I haven’t broken so many records by accident. That’s not an obsession for me, but I do like breaking them.”

Ronaldo has already added his name to more record books during this season’s Champions League.

His hat-trick against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals made him the first man to score more than 100 Champions League goals.

And he duly added another hat-trick in the semi-finals against Atletico Madrid to carry Real to the final in Cardiff this weekend.

“He has a good opportunity with the season that he has had, above all in the Champions League this year,” Predrag Mijatovic, who scored the winning goal when Real last met Juventus in the Champions League final in 1998, told AFP.

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