Barcelona star Lionel Messi has played down suggestions of a personal rift with Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the two prepare for another battle on the pitch this season.
Barcelona host Real Sociedad and Real Madrid tackle Valencia as the Primera Division gets under way this weekend, with the Catalans out to recapture the crown they lost to Madrid last season after three straight titles.
The battle between Messi and Ronaldo to be named the best player on the planet continues as a long-running sideshow but the former insists there is nothing personal in it as far as he is concerned.
"I respect him but I have no relationship with him, as I don't with a lot of other footballers," he told Marca.
"I have relationships with my Barcelona club-mates, and with the international squad, Argentinian players who I've got to know well over the years.
"There's never been any kind of anger toward Cristiano.
"It's all made up by the press who want to believe there's a constant duel between the two of us, but I don't compete with Cristiano, nor does he with me."