The Argentine will no longer take on Ronaldo in the Clasico (Picture: Getty)
Barcelona star Lionel Messi admits he was shocked by Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid to Juventus and now expects the Italian giants to be big favourites for the Champions League.
The Argentine faced off against Ronaldo countless times in La Liga, both with their respective clubs and for personal accolades, though they will no longer go head to head in La Liga.
Instead, the 33-year-old moved to Turin, and Messi feels the Old Lady will be a significant threat in Europe with his old rival Ronaldo leading the line – while Real have got significantly weaker.
Ronaldo has yet to score for Juve despite attempting 23 shots (Picture: Getty)
"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," Messi told Catalunya Radio.
"And it makes Juventus [one of the] clear favourites to win the Champions League."
On how he reacted to the new of Ronaldo’s unexpected transfer, Messi continued: "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."
Messi and Ronaldo have gone head to head for Barca and Real since 2009 (Picture: Getty)
Messi has gone three seasons without winning the Champions League, last doing so in 2015, and admits it is his major goal this season: "It’s time [to win it again].
"We have been knocked out in the quarterfinals in the last three seasons. Last season’s result in Rome hurt especially, but we have a spectacular squad and we can fight for it [this season]."