This Thursday the 2020/21 Champions groups were raffled and high-level duels can already be perceived in the first phase, but there is one that will have a special seasoning: Barcelona-Juventus.
Group G will once again cross Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two players who forged a rivalry in the games of ‘El Clásico’ for several years, before CR7 decided to change Real Madrid for Juve.
Here, a review of the most memorable matches between two of the best footballers in history:
On April 23, 2008, Lionel Messi played for the first time against Cristiano Ronaldo; an event that both titans have repeated many times during their careers.
Messi and Cristiano met for the first time when Barcelona and Manchester United played the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, which ended in a goalless draw. The Argentine was 20 years old, while the Portuguese was 23.
Ronaldo’s United ended up winning in that round (despite the Portuguese star missing a penalty in the first leg), advancing to later become European champions. At the end of the following season, Cristiano sealed his move to Real Madrid for £ 80 million, setting a world record for the transfer of a player. This is how Ronaldo joined the ranks of the Spanish La Liga and claimed to have Messi as an archrival.
Since then, the two soccer stars have met on a total of 36 occasions producing truly memorable encounters. Here are six of her best crashes:
The final of the 2009 edition of the Champions League, held in Rome, was the subject of a great show that promoted it as the clash of gladiators between the two best players in the world. This time it was Messi who prevailed over his opponent.
Barça managed to contain United in Rome, winning 2-0 and securing the first League, Cup and Champions League treble in the club’s history.
The game that was initially considered as a testing ground for Messi and Cristiano (who had already been awarded the Ballon d’Or), ended up leaving the script. The Camp Nou witnessed a historical humiliation to Madrid and to José Mourinho, its technical director at the time.
Messi did not score goals, but he added a couple of assists and one of his shots was canceled. The Argentine played a fundamental role in the five-goal beating of the eternal white rival, who enjoyed the league leadership before the start of the game. The humiliating defeat ended Madrid’s string of seven unbeaten matches.
The resounding win was immortalized by the “Manita” with which Gerard Piqué greeted the meringues fans, raising his five fingers.
Twelve years ago today, Messi and Ronaldo faced each other for the first time.
The beginning of an incredible rivalry 🤝 pic.twitter.com/yiQy4ZTA7J
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 23, 2020
After suffering multiple defeats in their opening matches, Ronaldo was finally able to win over Barça by wearing the Real Madrid jersey on his fifth attempt.
The white striker was the only scorer, with one of his characteristic impressive headers to convert in the 103rd minute. Los Blancos managed to snatch the Copa del Rey from the Catalans under their own noses.
However, that final staged at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia came in the midst of an intense cycle of four Clásicos played in three weeks, culminating in Barça winning the Champions League final at the expense of their archrivals.
Cristiano prevailed again when the old opponents met at the Camp Nou at the end of the 2011-12 league tournament.
Barça lost their hopes of defending the league title when Ronaldo scored the winning goal, giving the White House a seven-point lead at the top of the table with four dates to go.
Cristiano’s goal also helped Madrid break the Spanish League’s collective scoring record, with the 109th goal of the campaign for the merengue club, which had no major problems to seal the championship shortly after.
Cristiano’s long-awaited revenge came in the final stages of the 2012-13 Copa del Rey, when the Madrid figure made a performance worthy of a star, to seal the elimination of Barcelona.
After the 1-1 draw in the first leg held at the Santiago Bernabéu, the Portuguese forward scored a couple of goals and practically secured the 3-1 win at the Camp Nou on his own in the second leg, sealing Madrid’s classification at the final.
At the end of the game, Mourinho dared to silence the home fans, putting a finger in front of his lips. Ronaldo left the pitch after having scored at least one goal in his six most recent appearances on Barcelona’s sacred turf.
Once again, Messi laughed last, having scored the winning goal in the 92nd minute. The Argentine talisman sealed the victory in the dying moments of the match, in front of the faithful fans gathered at the Santiago Bernabéu, keeping alive the Barcelona’s aspirations to win the league title.
After having scored a goal in the first half, Messi remained calm to score in the extra time, in the midst of a hostile environment for the Blaugranas. Lionel marked his feat with a celebration in which he made sure to remember his name to the meringues fans.
During the entire nine years that Messi and Cristiano played in Spain simultaneously, there was no Clásico that ended goalless.