FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo influence on Real Madrid and now Juventus

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In a rare interview for the Barca club-record goalscorer, Messi opened up about his fierce rival's decision to leave the LaLiga giants after nine seasons.

Ronaldo admittedly took on a new challenge at the age of 33 to join Juventus, after winning three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles with Real.

As such, Messi believes his relentless ambition will surely be replicated with the Serie A champions in Europe's elite club competition - while Los Blancos would miss a player of his stature within their ranks.

"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.

"It surprised me [when he left]. 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."