The Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry is so intense it’s threatening to split a Croatian family right down the middle.
Well, not exactly. But a pair of football-mad brothers have effectively pitted their sons against each other for life by naming them after the Argentina and Portugal legends.
“My brother and I support [Barcelona and Real Madrid]. When my wife became pregnant, I immediately decided that I would name my son Leo Messi, my brother also decided that his son would be Cristiano Ronaldo,” says Leo’s father, Zeljko Stojanovic.
Cousins Leo and Cristiano have grown up together in the town of Slavonski Brod near Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the boys have aspirations to follow in the footsteps of their namesakes – just as their fathers wanted.
They attend the same school and play for the same football team, and their names never stop turning heads.
“The teacher was also a little surprised where we got the idea to give such a name. We just said that we decided that way and that was it,” adds Zelijko.
It’s understood that Leo is a little shy, just as the PSG forward was growing up, while Cristiano is not. When it comes to football, Leo apparently has a better shot, though Cristiano is a better technician.
Regardless, the boys don’t let their manufactured rivalry get in the way of their relationship, with Cristiano admitting: “Leo Messi is good to me as a friend and as a player.”
If the two keep at it, we could get Messi and Ronaldo starting up front in the Croatian national team in a few years’ time. Wouldn’t that be a sight?