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Messi Y Christian. The Flea and the Bug. The Messías and the Commander. The two best players in the world in recent years They meet again for the first time since the Portuguese left Real Madrid -and LaLiga- two years ago, in the summer of 2018, to set course for Juventus in Turin. After its positive for coronavirus deprived soccer lovers of ever seeing these two beasts face off, this Tuesday they will finally be able to see their faces again.
Those who have probably been the best players in football history to share a generation, have not faced each other since May 6, 2018, in a tie to two at the Camp Nou in LaLiga, while in the Champions League it has been almost a decade since they did. It was in 2011, when Barça still had only three trophies to nine from Real Madrid, in the semifinals that led the Catalans to their fourth European title.
A rivalry that has been taken to the extreme in all possible facets. In sports, when one was at Barça the other went to Madrid -after losing a Champions League final- and the two split eleven Golden Balls, 6 for Messi and 5 for Ronaldo, in addition to many others Golden Boots for the Argentine by 4 of the Portuguese.
Also in the marketing, since while Leo has been the flagship of Adidas for several years, Cristiano has been Nike with multi-million dollar contracts. In addition, these same brands faced -but the other way around- with the Americans dressing Barça and the Germans dressing Madrid.
In the last 15 years, both Messi and Cristiano have proven to be one level to which only the best ever reached and they have smashed countless records throughout their long careers. In fact, despite the fact that in recent years both have lost their characteristic dominance, with players like Modric or Lewandowski threatening their full in awards, no player can clearly unseat them from the throne of world football at 35 and 33 springs.
Of course, it seems that the slump in the form of both is real and far are the seasons in which both far exceeded the barrier of 40 goals and were the absolute dominators of their leagues. This season, a Messi more dosed has scored “only” 7 goals in the 13 games who has played in LaLiga and Champions, while CR7 has started the year recovering its best version with 10 goals in 9 games.
Messi takes the direct duels
The historical balance between the two players is clearly favorable to Messi, having met in 35 times so far, with 16 victories for the Argentine, 10 for the Portuguese and drawing 9 times. However, a curious fact in their confrontations is that the visiting team has won more times than the local team, with a result of 12 to 14, so the statistics favor that it is Juventus that takes the three points in the Camp Nou.
More than three points at stake
On this occasion, those who are still considered the kings of football are playing much more than three points, and it is most likely that the winner finishes the group stage in first place and thus avoid elite teams such as Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Liverpool or Chelsea in the round of 16.
However, practically all the ballots to pass as first group are held by FC Barcelona, since winning, tying or losing by the minimum would win the group. Only a bulky defeat by two goals difference and conceding at least three goals would deprive them of being in pot 1 in the Champions League draw.