Madrid: Lionel Messi’s rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo has been a passion for football for the better part of a decade, and the Barcelona host Juventus will face a final battle in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The two titans of the modern game, who split the ownership of the Ballon d’Or between 2008-2017, the Spanish giants Barcelona and the talismans of Real Madrid until Ronaldo leaves the Spanish capital for Juventus in 2018.
After coming from the Portuguese forward Manchester United in 2009, El Clೊsico became synonymous with Barcelona captain Messi.
Since Ronaldo’s departure, the match has lost some of its glamor, with the football world keen for the pair to compete against each other again.
Ronaldo was disappointed at the group stage after Barcelona lost 2–0 at Turin after testing positive for Kovid-19. Messi scored the goal through a penalty. They are set to meet again this week.
Both teams have already qualified for the last 16 from Group G but Juventus can overtake Barcelona if they win by three goals or more at Camp Nou, or by two goals other than 2-0.
Ronaldo and Messi are in the later stages of their careers at 35 and 33, respectively, but both have maintained their elite status.
Messi has six Balance d’Or to his name and is currently the holder, while Ronaldo is third in the 2019 awards, with five.
He is flourishing in Italy, quickly leading Juventus, who put on a commemorative shirt on Saturday to mark the 750th goal of his career, with a 2-1 win over neighboring Torino.
“Ronaldo is the top player in the mood,” his former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri told the Times.
“Ronaldo has a different head for everyone. He has won five Balance d’Or, five Champions Leagues and a European Championship for Portugal, and it’s very difficult, and it always makes a difference for him. Every year he has a new purpose.”
Ronaldo scored 21 goals in his debut season to lead Alegre Juventus to the title, then scored 31 last season under the command of Maurizio Sarri, as he lifted Scudetto for the 36th time.
Ronaldo has not shown any signs of slowing down this season, with eight goals in six games for Andrea Pirlo. On the contrary, Messi is struggling in Spain.
The Barcelona forward tried to escape this summer but his club refused to let him down and Messi looks uncomfortable with new coach Ronald Koman’s tactical plans and stays at his critical best.
Barcelona have endured their worst start to the league season for 33 years and Messi’s inconsistency is part of the problem, with four goals in 10 matches and two goals from a penalty spot.
Prior to the club’s election in January, managing board chairman Carles Tusketts said he was selling Messi in the summer, financially speaking.
“Financially, his departure is good for the club,” Tusketts told Catalunya Radio. “We’re fine because we’re told their salaries are the highest in the world. Nothing is real.”
The Argentine forward, however, failed to beat Cadiz’s 2-1 loss to the campaign team on Saturday, and the chance to jump in with his old foe Ronaldo could provoke him.
While Ronaldo was in Spain, he and Messi drove each other to greater and greater heights, including football’s biggest rivalry between individuals. On Tuesday, they will cross swords again, perhaps as a last resort.


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