Battle of GOATs: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s most iconic clashes
- PSG and Manchester United face off in Champions League.
- The first leg is on February 15, 2022.
- Ronaldo last faced Messi as a United player in 2009.
The Champions League draw for the last 16 will see Manchester United going up against PSG. While it will be thrilling to see what Ralf Rangnick manages to achieve with the fiery English side, when they go up against the French arsenal of sheer talent, all eyes will be fixed on two talismanic players. Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are squaring off once again. While there have been several debates about who is the greatest, there is no denying that Messi and Ronaldo are two of the best players in modern-day football.
With the first leg scheduled for February 15, 2022, now is the perfect time to delve into the most iconic clashes between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Champions League Final, 2009 (Manchester United 0-2 Barcelona)
When Ronaldo faces Messi in February, he will be back in the Red Devil’s jersey, and will surely remember this clash of gladiators in Rome. While the match was extremely hyped as the two best players in football would be playing against one another, Barcelona comfortably kept United at arm’s length with two goals. Messi drove a rare header home, marking the year Barcelona won the league, cup, and European cup treble.
Manita, 2010 (Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid)
Real Madrid faced humiliation at Camp Nou, in what was essentially a proving ground for both Ronaldo and Messi in the La Liga. The little magician did not score in the match, but proved instrumental, setting up two of the five goals. The match remains memorable for Gerard Pique’s five finger salute, that is, the ‘manita’ to viewers around the world.
Copa del Rey, 2011 (Real Madrid 1-0 Barcelona)
Ronaldo finally took his revenge with the Los Blancos by snatching away the Copa del Rey from under Barcelona’s noses, with a late goal that sealed the match. His iconic header in the 103rd minute guaranteed that Real Madrid walked away with the win. However, the fixture was smack in the middle of four El Classico fixtures in three weeks. The victory was somewhat dampened when Barcelona managed to reach the Champions League finals at the expense of Los Blancos.
League victory, 2012 (Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid)
This game will be remembered as Real Madrid comfortably left their rivals behind, sealing their victory in the Spanish League. Ronaldo’s goals allowed Madrid to be seven points clear off the top of the table, with four matches in hand. The Portuguese wonder also scored the record 109th goal of the season.
Silencing haters, 2013 (Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid)
This Real Madrid victory came under Jose Mourinho’s coaching. While the first leg had ended in a tie, Ronaldo almost single-handedly took care of the second leg at Camp Nou. His brace helped Real slide to a spot in the finals, and the match will be etched in our memory for Mourinho’s antics of shushing Barcelona fans, with a finger on his lips.
Say my name, 2017 (Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona)
Messi shouldered the responsibility of the team as his two goals kept Barcelona’s title aspirations alive. The fixture was marked by a hostile atmosphere, but the talismanic Number 10 scored a goal in the first half and kept his cool to slide in another during injury-time. Messi then proceeded to take his shirt off and hold it up to the viewers, reminding them of his name.
Football has rightly been said to be an emotion and not just a sport. Messi and Ronaldo’s rivalry has uplifted the game overall, and the magic they bring to the field will surely mesmerize global viewers over the two legs of this Champions League fixture.