They must have missed it. The last time Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo met face to face was on May 6, 2018 during a Clasico Barcelona – Real Madrid ended with a score of parity (2-2). The two monuments of world football had each scored a goal. A few weeks later, the Portuguese left the Spanish capital to join Italy and Juventus, leaving his Argentinian rival almost orphaned in La Liga.
This Tuesday evening (9 p.m.), the two best players in the world in activity face each other again for a Barca – Juventus Turin with the stake in the first place of group G in the Champions League. Positive for Covid-19 on October 28, “CR7” had missed the reunion in the first leg.
On the lawn of Camp Nou with Lionel Messi (104 million dollars of income or 86 million euros in 2019, according to the American magazine Forbes) and Cristiano Ronaldo (105 million dollars), the confrontation will not be only pecuniary. Fortunately. Even if the two stars evolve in spheres where gravitate the highest paid sportsmen on the planet like Roger Federer (106 million dollars).
Eleven Golden Balls, 250 goals and 9 wins in C1 between them
Sportingly, the Argentinean and the Portuguese who have won almost everything in recent years in terms of individual distinctions have won between them eleven Golden Balls, six for the Pulga and five for CR7. Deserved rewards as the two phenomena compete in performance. The duo have already scored 250 goals alone in C1.
Ronaldo, the top scorer in the history of the competition, leads the way with 132 goals. His eternal rival is 14 lengths behind (118). A delay difficult to catch up for the native of Rosario who seems to be marking time at the start of the season with Barça only 9th in the Spanish championship. In the continental title list, the two megastars have accumulated 9 Champions League titles: five for Ronaldo against four for Messi.
Messi-Ronaldo is the assurance of witnessing one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the game, especially since the two players are contemporaries of each other. For the 36th time, these two egos will meet again.
With Barcelona, the Argentinian finalist of the 2014 World Cup won 16 trophies and the 2016 European champion with Portugal, ten for Real. Nine times, the duel resulted in a draw. But one certainty the rivalry between the two Spanish clubs has always inspired them: Messi has scored twenty-two times and Ronaldo ten times.
Rarer duels in selection
Obviously, it was in La Liga that the face-to-face meetings were the most numerous. In the Champions League, it’s a rarity. There are only five meetings and the record tilts slightly in favor of Messi (two wins, one defeat and two draws). The first confrontation dates back to 12 years when CR7 was still playing at Manchester United.
That year, the Catalans were eliminated by the Mancuniens in the semi-finals. Messi had taken his revenge in the final of the following edition by winning 2-0. Bis repeated two years later, where CR7, who played at Real, saw his adventure end in the semi-finals (2-0, 1-1). Their last confrontation on the European scene dates back to 2011, during an electric semi-final favorable to the Catalans against Real (2-0, 1-1).
In selection, the shock of the titans is even rarer: only two games on the clock with a first Argentina – Portugal in 2011 and a 2-1 success for the Argentines thanks to a goal in stoppage time from… Lionel Messi. Three years later, in November 2014, the two selections met in Geneva and Portugal beat the finalists of the last World Cup (1-0) without either of them scoring.
Messi can match Pelé in case of a brace
If he achieves a double this Tuesday, Lionel Messi particularly ineffective since the start of the season will equal a record of King Pelé: scoring 643 goals with a single club. Pelé had achieved this feat with Santos.
In this duel that divides and agitates the football world, the coaches of Barca and Juve have refused to decide. “I admire both: they gave us so many great evenings with goals and trebles, relishes the Dutchman Ronald Koeman for FC Barcelona. I hope we can take advantage of their rivalry once more than this Tuesday night. They are the two best players over the last 10-15 years… They are different, but both have incredible statistics ”.
His transalpine counterpart Andrea Pirlo is showing the same caution when it comes to bringing up the two myths. “Messi is part of the history of modern world football. He and Ronaldo have continued to do incredible things for fifteen years and they are still on top despite an advanced age ”. Before posterity settles this eternal debate, there is still a game to get some idea.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr