No other rivalry among football stars beats that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For over 10 years, both players have fought for glories for their respective teams and have stood out among the greatest in football. The pair will face each other for the first time in almost 3 years when Barca host Juve in a battle to decide who will win Group G in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Ronaldo and Messi have shared the spoils as the Best Players in the World for the better part of the last decade. Messi has 6 Ballons d’Or to his title and is the present holder, whereas Ronaldo completed third within the 2019 awards, boasting 5. In recent years, Ronaldo has been thriving in Italy, where he is the hitman for Juventus. Messi on the other hand has been having a poor start to the season. In a tumultuous summer, the Barca captain tried to leave the club, which brought much uncertainty. Under new coach Ronald Koeman, Messi has occasionally pulled off good performances but he has been quite inconsistent. Barcelona are consequently enduring their worst begin to a league season for 33 years. Tuesday's game will be an opportunity for the Argentinian to deliver in a big game. Something he hasn't really done in recent times.
Once upon a time, Messi and Ronaldo regularly face each other back in the Spanish La Liga. At the time, every El Classico game was a battle for dominance between Ronaldo and Messi. But since Ronaldo’s departure, the fixture seems to have lost its spark. Little wonder why fans around the world are desperate to see the duo battle each other again in an entertaining game. Ronaldo had earlier missed the first leg which Juve lost 2-0. Mr. Champions League is back and will be gunning for an act of revenge. Both sides have already booked their place in the round of 16. But Juve could overtake Barcelona in the event that they win at Camp Nou by three goals or by any two-goal margin apart from 2-0.
Exciting as it may seem, the sad fact is that Ronaldo(35) and Messi(33) are getting old. The question now is 'how long can they continue playing and scoring? Who will retire first?
Ronaldo scored 21 goals in his debut season and scored 31 last season. He has already scored 8 goals in 6 appearances this season, and is showing no signs of slowing down. While Messi may seem to be struggling, fans know that La Pulga can stll pull off the magic when the occasion demands it. Enjoy the stats below.
MESSI V RONALDO 2020/21 STATS
Here are 13 Ronaldo-Messi fact in the Champions League.
- Ronaldo was the first to reach 100 goals with a single club, reaching the mark for Real Madrid on 14 February 2018; Messi completed his century, all for Barcelona, exactly a month later
- Messi has been on the losing side just three times when he has scored
- 2017/18 was the seventh season running that Ronaldo scored ten goals or more in the UEFA Champions League
- Messi has scored in 16 UEFA Champions League seasons, equal with Karim Benzema and Ryan Giggs
- Ronaldo has netted twice or more on 35 different occasions
- Each has scored eight hat-tricks
- Ronaldo did not score until his 30th game in the competition
- Ronaldo is the first player to amass 50 knockout goals, and is now past 60
- Ronaldo is the only player to score in three UEFA Champions League finals
- Ronaldo is the only player to score in 11 consecutive appearances in the competition proper
- Ronaldo's ten goals against his current club Juventus is more than anyone has scored against a single opponent
- Messi leads Ronaldo 71–65 in all-time group stage goals
- Ronaldo took 144 games to reach 100; Messi 123
- Both players ended 2014/15 level on 77 goals. But today Ronaldo has 132 to Messi's 113.