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Messi v Cristiano: The clash we’ve waited 947 days for

It’s been two years, seven months and two days since we last saw Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the same football pitch. On Tuesday they meet again.

Group victory is on the line when Juventus travel to Barcelona for the last group stage Matchday. Barcelona will top the group if they avoid defeat by 3 goals or more. Winning your group means you will be drawn against teams who finished 2nd in their group come the Round of 16-draw, on paper giving you a bigger chance of a more favourable draw.

The world has already been robbed off one Cristiano v Messi showdown, when Juve’s Portuguese star wasn’t able to play the first game in Torino due to testing positive for Covid-19. Barcelona ended up winning the game 2-0 with goals from Ousmane Dembélé and Messi himself.

Messi v Ronaldo hasn’t been a regular occurrence ever since Cristiano left Spain and signed for the Italians in Torino. When Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same group back in October, it was obvious that the main focus was going to be on the clash between our time’s biggest superstars: Messi against Ronaldo.

The last time the two met was in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou on May 6th 2018, where they both got on the scoresheet.

Messi and Ronaldo have faced each other on a total of 35 occasions. Of those, Messi has come out on top 16 times, Ronaldo 10, and 9 of their encounters have ended in draws.

Messi also lead in number of titles, with his 35 against Cristiano’s 31. The Portuguese has scored more goals, with his 750 goals in 1031 matches. Messi is only just behind on 712 goals, and has also played fewer games, with his 886.

2009 Champions League final

For many, the most memorable encounter between the two was the 2009 Champions League final. Ronaldo and his Manchester United faced off against Barcelona with a 21-year old Leo Messi in the starting lineup. The match ended in a 2-0 victory to Pep Guardiola’s team, with goals from Samuel Eto’o and Leo Messi. 2008/09 was the season that ended up being Messi’s real breakthrough as a world superstar.

Messi’s goal in the 2009 Champions League final // IMAGE: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe)
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