3 Champions League landmarks Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could achieve in 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo (128) and Lionel Messi (114) are the two most prolific scorers in the history of the UEFA Champions League.
The duo possess record tallies of goals in both the group stage and the knockout stage of the Champions League, while their eight hat-tricks apiece are almost triple the next best tally of hat-tricks by a player in the competition.
Messi (34) along with Ronaldo (33) have also scored against the highest number of opposition teams in the competition.
You may also like: Champions League records that are likely to elude Messi and Ronaldo
Their other prominent achievements in the blue riband event of European club football include Ronaldo being the only player to score in every group-stage game of the competition, and Messi becoming the first (of two players, the other being Luiz Adriano) to score five goals in a Champions League game.
With both Juventus and Barcelona qualifying for the knockout stage of the 2019-20 Champions League and likely to feature in the group-stage of the competition next season, Ronaldo and Messi have the following landmarks to look forward to in 2020:
#1 Become the first player to score in every knockout stage game of a season
Ronaldo came the closest to accomplishing this landmark in 2013-14 when the then Real Madrid player scored in each leg of the Round of 16 and in a leg apiece of the quarterfinals and semifinals. Madrid went on lift their first title in the competition in 12 years for their record-extending La Decima.
Messi's most prolific knockout stage campaign in the Champions League came in 2010-11. The diminutive Argentinian scored in a leg apiece in the Round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and then in the final as Barcelona won their third title in the competition.
#2 Score a four-goal hat-trick in the semifinal
Ronaldo (4) edges Messi (2) in terms of hat-tricks in the knockout stage of the Champions League. While Ronaldo has scored a semifinal hat-trick in the competition, Messi hasn't yet managed to do so.
Thus, both players would look forward to emulating Robert Lewandowski (2012-13) and score a four-goal hat-trick in the semifinals, should their respective teams reach the last-four stage of the 2019-20 edition of the competition.
#3 Score a Champions League final hat-trick
In 27 previous finals in the Champions League era, no player has scored a hat-trick in the final.
While Messi has scored in two finals (2009, 2011) and Ronaldo has done so in three (2008, 2014, 2017), both players would look to create more Champions League history by bagging a hat-trick in the final.
Published 30 Dec 2019, 22:36 IST