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The wait is over.
After being denied the 36th installment of Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo in the first clash between Barcelona and Juventus in this season’s Champions League, the pair will go head-to-head at Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Ronaldo was ruled out of the first meeting in Turin after a positive coronavirus test, while Messi received a break from Ronald Koeman.
Both teams are already guaranteed to advance from Group G, but the eyes of fans around the world will be on the match as the two best players of the modern era battle it out for first place and a potentially easier draw in the last 16.
Head to head
Messi has only been on the losing side once in his previous five Champions League encounters with Ronaldo.
They also have a 3-0 advantage in terms of goals when they face each other. Messi scored a header in Barça’s final triumph against Ronaldo’s Manchester United in May 2009, before scoring a semi-final double two years later when the Blaugrana eliminated Real Madrid.
#OTD in 2009, Barcelona was proclaimed champion in Rome
– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 27, 2020
The captain of the Catalan giants had more touches (445) than Ronaldo (248) in those games, but the Portuguese has had 20 attempts at goal compared to 17 for his counterpart.
In his second match, the second leg in the 2007-08 Champions League semi-finals, Messi completed 16 dribbles, which is a record for a player in a single knockout game in the competition since Opta began collecting the data. in 2004-05. . However, United triumphed 1-0 in that encounter, and Ronaldo lifted the trophy for the first time.
In 35 meetings in all competitions by club and country, Messi has the advantage with 16 wins and nine draws. Messi has scored 22 goals and provided 12 assists in those games, while Ronaldo has scored 19 and prepared one more.
In terms of team titles, Messi stands at the top with 36, including a gold medal at the Olympics and a U-20 World Cup win with Argentina, compared to Ronaldo’s 32.
However, Ronaldo has more Champions League wins (five to four) and two covered at the senior international level, something that has eluded Messi. While the Argentina captain has lost four important finals to his country, Ronaldo was part of Portugal’s triumphs at Euro 2016 and the Nations League.
On an individual level, Messi’s seven Pichichi awards, six European Golden Boot and six Ballons d’Or put him ahead of Ronaldo by 29 to 26 (adding titles in all leagues and taking into account the Champions League).
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 19, 2020
They are the only players to have found the back of the net in the Champions League more than 100 times: Ronaldo reached the milestone first and has 132 goals, while Messi has 118.
Ronaldo recorded his 750th career goal on matchday five against Dynamo Kiev last week. The 35-year-old has 648 in 859 at club level (0.75 per game) and 102 in 170 Portuguese games (0.60 per game). While Messi is on average more prolific at the club level with 641 in 745 games for Barcelona (0.86 goals per game), he is less effective for Argentina with 71 in 142 (0.50 goals per game).
– OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 2, 2020
The high point of their rivalry came during Ronaldo’s nine seasons at Barça’s archrival Madrid, during which he outscored his counterpart in three separate LaLiga campaigns. However, Messi topped the charts five of the other six times, with Luis Suárez beating them both against Pichichi in 2015-16.
In total, Messi has scored 448 goals in the top five European leagues, seven fewer than Ronaldo.
However, while they are often pitted against each other, there are some things that Messi and Ronaldo share.
Sevilla are both their favorite opponents (27 goals for Ronaldo, 37 for Messi) and they have also scored eight hat-tricks each in the Champions League and 36 triples in the five main national leagues in Europe.
But who will emerge victorious when they finally meet again on Tuesday?