The trip of Juventus Turin to Barcelona on Tuesday means the return of the duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The stake is symbolic.
Rekindle the fire that burns between them, perhaps for the last time. Isolated at his home in Turin because of Covid-19 a month and a half ago, Cristiano Ronaldo has missed his reunion with FC Barcelona. Without him, Juventus took a lesson (0-2). With a goal, in extra time and from a penalty, from his nemesis. History has it that Lionel Messi will remain inseparable from his Portuguese rival, and that this Tuesday, the spotlight will be on their two figures at Camp Nou (9 p.m.). The stakes are relative: the two teams have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, and only a victory by three goals would allow Juve to finish at the top of Group G. remains nonetheless an appointment for the football planet, by the simple presence of two extraterrestrials.
The last clash between Messi and Ronaldo in the Champions League, in 2011
Ronaldo and Messi, these are two achievements as long as the arm. These are eleven of the last twelve Ballons d’Or, 5 for the Portuguese and 6 for the Argentinian. A daily domination over time, never seen in football and rarely seen in sport. “It’s fantastic that these two players have stayed so long at this level on the roof of the world,” congratulated Ronald Koeman, the Barcelona coach, at a press conference. The rivalry was built at a distance, with the accomplishments of each. And face-to-face, with Clasicos Barça-Real whose reach exceeded the green rectangle, during the Madrid period of Ronaldo (2009-2018). And has sometimes turned into the tragic, like this murder in India for a debate on who is the better player of the two in 2016.
Messi has the advantage in direct confrontations
If the numbers could speak, they would answer Cristiano Ronaldo. In the Champions League, at least. The Juventus forward is the top scorer in the history of the competition, with 132 goals. In his rearview mirror, Lionel Messi and his 118 goals. “I have no doubt that Messi makes me a better player and vice versa, approved Ronaldo at the microphone of the channel TVIlast year. When I win trophies, it must sting him and it’s the same for me when he wins. When he crosses the “Pulga” (the chip), CR7 is more often frowning than happy. The two have faced each other 33 times at club, for 9 wins for the team at Ronaldo, 9 draws and 15 wins for Barça. In the 2007-08 Champions League, Manchester United eliminated Barça in the semi-finals (0-0, 1-0) before the revenge which turned in favor of the Catalans the following year, in the final (2-0). Two years later, Messi carried Barça to the semi-final against Real from a Ronaldo who remained silent (2-0, 1-1).
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In the game of the number of goals in direct confrontations, it is also the Argentinian who leads, 21 to 18. A statistic that would only motivate the five-time Ballon d’Or, obsessed with numbers like his hunt to the record of goals in selection. That’s good, the trend is more towards a reduction of this gap. Messi has a level well below his standards this season. His three goals in three Champions League matches came from the penalty spot. Ronaldo does not seem to have any consequences from the coronavirus with 8 goals in 6 Serie A matches.
“We must take advantage of both”
André Gomes, Portuguese midfielder who passed through Barça
The Camp Nou could be the scene of the last face-to-face between Messi and Ronaldo this Tuesday. At 33 and 35 respectively, the Barcelona and Turinese are at the twilight of their careers. Ronaldo is unlikely to play again in Spain, or that Messi will be transferred to Italy. Unless a further boost from the draw in the Champions League, they will no longer put their studs on the same lawn. When the famous anthem plays its last notes, and Messi and Ronaldo hit each other’s hands before kick-off, the words spoken last May by André Gomes, a Portuguese midfielder who has been through … Barça, will resonate in everyone. the heads of football fans: “We have to take advantage of both. “