Lionel Messi is DESPERATE to face Cristiano Ronaldo as Barcelona take on Juventus in dead rubber match… and Ronald Koeman is set to bin his policy of resting his star man in the Champions League so he can go head-to-head with his old rival once more
- Lionel Messi is set to face Cristiano Ronaldo for potentially the last time
- Messi is desperate to play against the player who was his greatest rival
- Ronald Koeman left Messi out of the side for last two Champions League games
Messi is desperate to play against the player who was his greatest rival during Ronaldo’s seven years at Real Madrid.
And although what Messi wants cuts little slack these days with Ronald Koeman – the Barca coach has left him out of the team’s last two Champions League games – he is expected to start Messi in Barcelona‘s final group game with Juventus.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi is set to get the opportunity to face Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday
It could be the final time that the pair, who have had an intense rivalry, will face each other
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman rested Messi for the club’s last two European matches
Messi has been rested in Europe and Barcelona have beaten Dynamo Kiev 4-0 and Ferencvaros 3-0 without him, leaving them safely qualified to the knockout stages and just needing a point on Tuesday to top the group.
But that policy of leaving Messi as a spectator in Europe will be binned on Tuesday allowing him to face Ronaldo.
Ousmane Dembele’s hamstring injury limits Koeman’s attacking options.
He is already missing Ansu Fati and although he could line up with Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Francisco Trincao both Barcelona and Messi need a major morale boost to lift the gloom around the club after they lost their fourth game of the season at the weekend.
Messi and Ronaldo frequently faced each other when the latter was playing for Real Madrid
They now find themselves 12 points off the pace in Spain. No team has won the league from that position at this point in the season.
Saving Messi for the league is not working and that’s another reason to bring the Argentine back in on Tuesday night.
Messi missed out on his chance to face Ronaldo at the end of October because of the former Real Madrid man’s coronavirus positive.
But the six-time Balon d’Or winner can face the five-time winner with the world wondering how many more times the possibility could arise.
It appears unlikely that Messi and Ronaldo will play in the same domestic league again
They are unlikely to be playing in the same domestic league again so the 33-year-old Messi and the 35-year-old Ronaldo rely on Champions League encounters.
They have met 35 times before but not been rivals since May 2018, when Barcelona played Real Madrid for the last time before Ronaldo was sold. The game ended 2-2 with both Ronaldo and Messi on the scoresheet.
It was one of nine draws between the two. Messi has won 16 games against Ronaldo who has taken the spoils 10 times.
Not all the Ronaldo v Messi meetings have been clasicos. They have both won a game each in Portugal v Argentina matches and three times Messi took on Ronaldo at Manchester United.