Editor’s Note: This article was first published on April 24, 2020 and has been updated since then.
Although they now play their club football on different continents, old enemies Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face each other again on Thursday when Paris Saint-Germain travels to Saudi Arabia for an exhibition match.
The friendly match, officially known as the Riyadh Season Cup, will take place in the Saudi Arabian capital and see PSG take on a team of Al-Nasr Ronaldo and defending Saudi Arabian professional league champions Al-Hilal.
Al Nasr manager Rudy Garcia has confirmed that Ronaldo will make his first appearance in Riyadh against PSG after the Portugal captain was forced to miss his first two home games for his new club due to a suspension carried over from his stay at Manchester United. This would thus be the first match played by Ronaldo since he made his league debut against Ettifac on 22 January.
The last time Messi and Ronaldo played on the same field was in December 2020. Since then, Ronaldo has changed clubs twice and Messi has won the World Cup. Unsurprisingly, sources have told Sportzshala that more than 2 million online ticket requests have been received for a match at the 68,000-capacity King Fahd International Stadium.
If both superstars take to the field in Riyadh, it will be the first time they have come face to face in over two years (772 days to be exact) and both players have changed since they last met.
Indeed, Al Nasr will be the fourth other club Ronaldo has represented in the 36 meetings between the pair since their first clash in April 2008, while Messi is now in his second team, having left Barcelona to join to PSG in the summer of 2008. 2021.
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Messi and Ronaldo have met a total of 36 times for club and country. In Ronaldo’s entire adult career, the only player he faced so often was Andres Iniesta (36 times). On the other hand, Messi has faced three other opponents during his career: Sergio Ramos, Diego Godin and Karim Benzema.
The very first meeting between Messi and Ronaldo took place on April 23, 2008, when the 20-year-old Messi found himself on the field against the 23-year-old Ronaldo, when Barcelona and Manchester United played a goalless draw in the first league match. League semi-final. The most recent occasion was when Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot in Juventus’ 3–0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League group stage.
Messi leads the head-to-head matches with 16 competitive wins to Ronaldo’s 11, while there have been nine draws in matches involving the pair. Messi also has another goal to his name in their meetings, scoring 22 to Ronaldo’s 21, but it’s through the assist count that he really comes into his own with 11 goals compared to his opponent’s one.
The duo have played each other five times in the Champions League play-offs: both semi-finals 2007-08 (Barca v Manchester United) and 2010-11 (Barca v Real Madrid), as well as the 2008-09 final in Rome, in which Messi scored a goal for Barça in a 2–0 victory over Ronaldo’s Manchester United.
Ronaldo may be the Champions League’s all-time leading scorer with 140 goals overall, but his two penalties against Barca in the 2020–21 group stage were the first (and so far only) time he has ever scored in a tournament sharing the field with Messi, who scored three times in European matches against Ronaldo’s teams.
It’s important to note that Messi still plays in the Champions League, although his 129 goals in the competition mean he will almost certainly have to find himself back in a major European competition next season if he wants to overtake Ronaldo at the top of the rankings.
Most memorable fights
Among the 36 times Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo met each other, there were some really memorable meetings. Here are six of the best.
1. Champions League Final (Manchester United 0-2 Barcelona, 27 May 2009)
Barcelona have won their third European Cup. #OTD in 2009! 🏆
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 27, 2021
The 2009 final in Rome was promoted as a gladiatorial bout between two of the best players in the world, and this time Messi came out on top. Barça successfully kept United at arm’s length in Rome to win 2–0 (Messi scored a rare header and his side’s second goal) to secure their first ever league, cup and European Cup.
2. “Little Hand” (Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid, November. 29, 2010)
🔥10 years since the exhibition 🆚 R. Madrid at the Camp Nou! 😍 pic.twitter.com/8MF77o0Eaw
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 29, 2020
Seen as a sort of proving ground for both Messi and Ronaldo (both Ballon d’Or winners by then), the game deviated from the script as the Camp Nou witnessed the historic humiliation of Real Madrid and their manager José Mourinho . Messi did not score, but scored two goals, playing a key role in Barça’s crushing of their opponents, who started from the top of La Liga and were unbeaten in seven matches. A hefty score was immortalized by the five-fingered game of Gerard Pique.small hand(“Pen”) salute to the observing world.
3. Revenge of Ronaldo (Real Madrid 1-0 Barcelona, 20 April 2011)
🏆💫 👑 Nine years ago today we won our 18th Copa del Rey!
⏳ April 20, 2011 we lost 0:1 to the winners @Football Club Barcelona in a dramatic extra time win at the Mestalla!#RMHistory | #RMFansEnCasa pic.twitter.com/ROTmQPygFZ
— Real Madrid FC 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 20, 2020
Ronaldo finally triumphed over Barça as a Real Madrid player for the fifth time. The Madrid striker was the sole scorer as his signature high header in the 103rd minute showed White snatch the Spanish Cup from under the nose of Barca. However, that final at the Mestalla came in the middle of a tense four-man race. classic three weeks, culminating in Barça reaching the Champions League final at the expense of their bitter rivals.
4. Cristiano calls ‘calm’ (Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid, 21 April 2012)
— La Liga (@LaLiga) December 1, 2016
Ronaldo had the upper hand again when the old rivals met at the Camp Nou at the very end of the 2011-2012 championship. Barça have abandoned their hopes of defending their league title as winner Ronaldo put White seven points at the top of the table with four matches left to play. Ronaldo’s goal, which he celebrated with an unusually low-key gesture calling for “calm” as his teammates celebrated, also allowed Real Madrid to break the Spanish league scoring record with their 109th goal of the season, and soon after they rushed to title.
5. Cup of Woe at Camp Nou (Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid, 26 February 2013)
Ronaldo brought grief to Catalonia again at the Copa del Rey when Real put on a stellar performance to send Barcelona back to camp. After the first leg at the Bernabéu ended 1-1, the Portugal striker scored twice – a penalty he won himself after being fouled by Piqué, and then a powerful header – and almost single-handedly converted a three-pointer . 1 victory at the Camp Nou in the second leg, securing Real Madrid’s place in the final.
6. Holiday shirts (Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona, 23 April 2017)
— La Liga English (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2020
Messi made headlines again after the 92nd-minute winner from the Argentinean talisman scored a very late victory at the Bernabéu and kept Barça’s title hopes alive. Having already scored in the first half, Messi kept his cool as he won the injury time victory in a hostile atmosphere and then celebrated by defiantly reminding the Real Madrid fans of his name.
If there is any statistic or fact to sum up the greatness of the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo, it is that in the nine years that they have been together in Spain, there has never been a single goal without a goal. Clasico.
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