"It hurts me to see him in tears"- Cristiano Ronaldo defends Messi after Argentina retirement

Real Madrid star backs his Barcelona counterpart

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Real Madrid

Picture by: Emilio Morenatti / AP/Press Association Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has backed his Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi in his decision to retire from international football.

After missing a penalty as Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile last week, Messi announced that he would no longer put himself forward for international duty despite being just 29.

Issues with the Argentine FA are among the reasons why Messi has decided to stick to club football alone.

Real Madrid and Portugal star Ronaldo, who is often pitted against Messi at club level, and competes for the game's individual prizes, came out in defence of the Argentine. 

"He has made a tough decision and people should understand it," said Ronaldo.

"He isn’t accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finishing second. Missing a penalty doesn’t make you a bad player. It hurts to see Messi in tears and I hope he returns to his country one day because they need him."