They have already crossed 35 times, between clubs and national teams. The last time in the Champions League was in 2011 and the Rosario celebrated.
If something came off from Lionel Messi’s speech when he announced, much to his regret, the continuity at Barcelona, it was his lack of motivation in the face of the scene that the club had presented him in recent times. He was uncomfortable, annoying, careless. The start of this new season already offers you a seductive hook. An old rival appears. And the fuel for a short-term goal comes at the right time.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet again face to face. This was determined by the draw for the group stage of the Champions League held this Thursday in Geneva. There where Bayern Munich paraded with individual awards and dominated the awards gala. But immediately the balls wanted the flashes to point to the two great football stars of the 21st century who are not having their best season.
There have already been 35 crosses between the Argentine and the Portuguese, two of them with the National Team and the rest in their clubs, with remembered duels in the Spanish classic. So far, the balance offers 16 wins for Messi, 10 for CR7 and 9 draws. The Rosario scored in those games 22 goals while the one born in Madeira scored 19.
To find the last duel for the Champions League, you have to go back to the semifinals of 2011. And Messi celebrated. The Rosario put a double at the Santiago Bernabéu to seal 2-0 in the first leg and then Pep Guardiola’s team that would win the trophy against Manchester United, sealed the passage to the final at the Camp Nou with a 1-1 draw (goals from Marcelo for the merengue and Pedro for the team culé).
The first meeting between the cracks was precisely for the Champions League, in one of the semifinals of the 2007/2008 season and with a triumph for Manchester United of CR7, who drew 0-0 at the Camp Nou and won 1-0 in England.
And the last time they crossed paths was in May 2018: Barcelona and Real Madrid drew 2-2 for date 36 of LaLiga and scored a goal each.
Beyond the fact that the Argentine dominates the personal crosses, there are areas in which the Juventus player prevails: he has the record for the highest number of editions as a scorer in the Champions League, with seven. Leo is one step behind, with six. Both have already widely surpassed the one who completes the historic podium, Gerd Müller, scorer in four editions.
And Cristiano lifted the Champions League five times (one with Manchester United and four with Real Madrid) against the four that Messi won. The Argentine lifted the most important club trophy in the world in 2006 in Paris, in 2009 in Rome, in 2011 at Wembley and in Berlin in 2015. The numbers speak volumes: at the age of 24, he had already won the trophy three times. Orejona and then he was able to keep only one of the next nine editions.
This Friday the fixture will be defined and there the dates for the group duels that will begin with the first date on October 20 and 21 will be established.
If the clubs are taken into account, it will be the eighth time they have crossed paths. They were measured in two-legged qualifying matches of the Fairs Cup (1970-71), the European Cup (1985-86), in a single-match tie of the Recopa (1990-91) and three of the Champions League (final 2014 -15, 2016-17 quarter-finals and 2017-18 group stage).
In total, they have played 13 times in Europe, with four wins for the Barça (the 2015 Champions League final is the most remembered), five from Juve and four draws.
A year ago when no one could imagine that a pandemic, among other things, would prevent the traditional gala of the Champions League draw from taking place, Messi and Cristiano crossed paths in Monte Carlo. There was a ceremony for all pomps there. The Argentine did not imagine that a season would come to be forgotten, without titles in his club, with the humiliating elimination against Bayern and with the desire to break the contract to change course. The Portuguese returned to parade with Juventus at the local level, but was also with bitter taste in Europe.
“It was nice to have Cristiano in LaLiga, especially because he was at Real Madrid. Now he’s in another great team and we see him from Spain”, Barcelona’s crack threw the wall. “I was curious to know that after having this competitiveness for 15 years we have a very good relationship. We haven’t had dinner together yet, but in the future … Messi and I had a great battle. We have helped each other to be better. This rivalry is football history “, he brought the Portuguese back to his side in the front row.
On this occasion, in Geneva, there was no red carpet and the ceremony was limited to decorating the best in each category. Messi and Cristiano did not appear there. Although the draw put them once again at the center of the world football scene.