Ronaldo denies calling Messi 'm***********r'
They might be the world's best footballers, but it's no big secret that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi aren't the best of friends.
But the players' relationship hasn't descended to the point of obscene nicknames - at least according to Ronaldo.
An excerpt from Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague's book Messi which appeared in the Daily Telegraph claimed that the Portuguese star's name for his Barcelona rival in the Real Madrid dressing room was "motherf****r".
The allegation has prompted Ronaldo to launch a staunch denial on Facebook as well as threaten legal action.
Ronaldo has previously described his relationship with perennial Ballon d'Or rival Messi as that of "colleagues" and "work friends" who do not have a friendship to speak of when they're off the pitch, although he has expressed his hope that the pair could look back after their careers and laugh about their rivalry after retirement.
In his book - which is being serialised by the Daily Telegraph, Balague wrote: "Ronaldo, perhaps as a symptom of the immaturity that marks so many footballers, thinks it necessary to put on a brave face in front of his team-mates, not be scared of Messi and to rise to the challenge. All very macho; all very false.
"And that is why, according to some Real Madrid players, CR7 has a nickname for him: ‘motherf****r’; and if he sees someone from the club speaking to Leo, he also ends up being baptised ‘motherf****r’."