Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s most memorable clashes


Editors’ notice: This article was first revealed on April 24, 2020 and has since been up to date.

Despite now enjoying their membership soccer on totally different continents, previous foes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face one another as soon as once more on Thursday when Paris Saint-Germain journey to Saudi Arabia for an exhibition recreation.

Jump to: Head-to head record | Most memorable clashes

The pleasant, formally referred to as the Riyadh Season Cup, will happen within the Saudi capital and will pit PSG towards a aspect made up of gamers from Ronaldo’s Al Nassr and reigning Saudi Pro League champions Al Hilal.

Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia has confirmed that Ronaldo is ready to make his first look in Riyadh towards PSG after the Portugal captain was pressured to overlook his first two home video games for his new membership attributable to a suspension carried over from his time at Manchester United. Therefore, this match would be the first performed by Ronaldo since making his transfer with a full league debut set to comply with towards Ettifaq on Jan. 22.

Messi and Ronaldo final shared a pitch in December 2020, since when Ronaldo has modified golf equipment twice and Messi has gained the World Cup. No surprise, then, that sources have instructed ESPN that there have been greater than 2 million on-line requests for tickets for the match on the 68,000-capacity King Fahd International Stadium.

Should each superstars take to the pitch in Riyadh, it will likely be the primary time they’ve come face-to-face in over two years (772 days to be exact) with each gamers having moved on since their final assembly.

Indeed, Al Nassr would be the fourth totally different membership that Ronaldo has represented over the course of 36 conferences between the pair since their maiden conflict in April 2008, whereas Messi is now on his second staff having left Barcelona to hitch PSG in the summertime of 2021.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)


Messi and Ronaldo have tangled a complete of 36 instances for membership and nation. During your entire length of Ronaldo’s senior profession, the one participant he is confronted as usually is Andres Iniesta (36 instances). On the opposite hand, Messi has confronted three different opponents on extra events throughout his profession: Sergio Ramos, Diego Godin, and Karim Benzema.

The very first Messi-Ronaldo assembly got here on April 23, 2008, when a 20-year-old Messi discovered himself fielded reverse a 23-year-old Ronaldo as Barcelona and Manchester United performed out a goalless draw within the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. The most current event was when Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot in a 3-0 victory for Juventus over Barcelona within the Champions League group stage.

Messi leads the head-to-head document with 16 wins in aggressive matches to Ronaldo’s 11, whereas there have been 9 attracts in matches involving the pair. Messi additionally has yet one more purpose to his identify of their encounters, having scored 22 to Ronaldo’s 21, however it’s on the help depend that he actually comes into his personal with 11 targets created in comparison with only one from his rival.

The duo have performed towards one another 5 instances within the Champions League knockout part: each legs of the 2007-08 (Barca vs. Manchester United) and 2010-11 (Barca vs. Real Madrid) semifinals, in addition to the 2008-09 ultimate in Rome through which Messi scored for Barca in a 2-0 win over Ronaldo’s Manchester United.

Ronaldo often is the Champions League’s all-time high scorer with 140 targets total, however his brace of penalties towards Barca within the 2020-21 group stage was the primary (and to this point solely) time he’d ever scored within the competitors whereas sharing the pitch with Messi, who has scored thrice in European clashes towards groups that includes Ronaldo.

Crucially, Messi remains to be enjoying within the Champions League, though his haul of 129 targets within the competitors means he’ll virtually definitely must be in Europe’s high competitors once more subsequent time period if he desires to overhaul Ronaldo on the high of the scoring charts.

Most memorable clashes

There have been some really memorable encounters among the many 36 events on which Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been pitted towards one another. Here are six of one of the best.

The 2009 ultimate in Rome was hyped as a gladiatorial conflict between the 2 greatest gamers on this planet, and this time Messi got here out on high. Barca efficiently stored United at arm’s size in Rome to win 2-0 — with Messi scoring a uncommon header for his staff’s second purpose — and safe their first ever league, cup and European Cup Treble.

The recreation that was seen as one thing of a proving floor for each Messi and Ronaldo (who had been each Ballon d’Or winners by this level) veered off script as Camp Nou witnessed a historic humiliation of Real and their coach, Jose Mourinho. Messi did not rating, however he arrange two targets as he performed a pivotal position in Barca doling out a mauling of their foes, who had began the sport high of LaLiga and unbeaten in seven matches. The hefty scoreline was immortalised by Gerard Pique’s five-fingered “Manita” (“Little Hand”) salute to the watching world.

Ronaldo lastly triumphed over Barca as a Real participant on the fifth time of asking. The Madrid ahead was the one scorer as his trademark towering 103rd-minute header noticed Los Blancos snatch the Copa del Rey from underneath Barca’s noses. However, that ultimate on the Mestalla got here in the course of an intense run of 4 Clasicos in three weeks, which culminated in Barca reaching the Champions League ultimate on the expense of their bitter rivals.

Ronaldo once more prevailed when the previous adversaries met at Camp Nou towards the tail finish of the 2011-12 league marketing campaign. Barca surrendered their hopes of defending their league title as a winner from Ronaldo put Los Blancos seven factors clear on the high of the desk with 4 matches left to play. Ronaldo’s purpose — which he marked in unusually understated vogue by gesturing for “calm” as his teammates celebrated — additionally noticed Real break the Spanish league scoring document with purpose No. 109 of the season, and they romped to the title quickly thereafter.

Ronaldo once more inflicted Copa del Rey heartbreak on Catalonia when the Real man turned in a star efficiency to ship Barcelona packing. After the primary leg had ended 1-1 on the Bernabeu, the Portugal ahead scored twice — by way of a penalty that he gained himself after being fouled by Pique, and then a towering header — and virtually single-handedly wrapped up a 3-1 win at Camp Nou within the return match to seal Real’s place within the ultimate.

Messi as soon as once more seized the headlines after a 92nd-minute winner from the Argentine talisman nicked a really late victory on the Bernabeu and stored Barca’s title aspirations alive. Having already scored within the first half, Messi stored his cool to fit house an injury-time winner amid a hostile ambiance and then rejoice by pointedly reminding the Real supporters of his identify.

If there may be one statistic or truth to sum up the greatness of the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo it’s this: in your entire nine-year interval that they had been collectively in Spain, there was by no means a goalless Clasico.

Box workplace, assured.


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