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How have Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fared against each other in the Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi (left)
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Lionel Messi (left)
ANALYST
Modified 20 Oct 2020, 11:36 IST
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are arguably two of the greatest players to have graced the UEFA Champions League.

With 130 and 115 goals respectively in the tournament proper (group stage to final), the duo are a proverbial country mile ahead of Raul (71), the next most prolific scorer in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 170 appearances in the competition are the most by an outfield player and second overall (behind Iker Casillas' 177), while only two players other than Ronaldo have played more Champions League games than Lionel Messi (143).

Among a plethora of records in the Champions League, Lionel Messi (35) and Cristiano Ronaldo (33) have scored against the most number of different opponents in the competition than any other player. The duo also have nine Champions League titles between them, with Ronaldo winning five and Messi four.


Five times when Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi locked horns in the Champions League

With Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus drawn with Lionel Messi's Barcelona in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage, the duo are set to renew acquaintances in the blue riband event of European club football.

Let's take a look at what transpired on the five previous occasions in the competition when Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi squared up against each other.

#1 Barcelona 0:0 Manchester United

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(2007-08 Champions League Semifinal First Leg)

Cristiano Ronaldo buries his head in his hands after missing a penalty at the Camp Nou.
Cristiano Ronaldo buries his head in his hands after missing a penalty at the Camp Nou.

In their first meeting in the UEFA Champions League, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi drew a blank as Manchester United played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their 2007-08 semifinal against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

However, it was Ronaldo who left the game with the bigger regret as he fluffed a third-minute penalty beyond the goalpost, with Victor Valdes diving the other way as a cagey game ended goalless.

Ronaldo has since scored 17 of his subsequent 19 penalties in the competition, with his next miss from the spot in the Champions League not coming for another six years.

Incidentally, coming into the game, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were on two goals apiece in the Champions League, with Ronaldo opening his account in the competition in the previous round against AS Roma.


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#2 Manchester United 1:0 Barcelona

(2007-08 Champions League Semifinal Second Leg)

Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes' screamer took Manchester United to the 2007-08 Champions League final.

After a goalless draw in the first leg, Manchester United and Barcelona met in the second leg of the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League semifinal with a place in the final at stake.

Just like Ronaldo in the first leg, this time it was Lionel Messi who squandered an early opportunity to give his side the lead. After a marauding run from the Argentine was halted by Paul Scholes just outside the United penalty box, Messi was wasteful with a free-kick from shooting distance.

In the 14th minute, Scholes made Barcelona pay for their profligacy. Receiving the ball about thirty yards from goal, the United midfielder let fly from distance as the ball swerved and settled beyond Victor Valdes. It proved to be the only goal of the game as United hung on for a hard-fought victory to reach their first Champions League final in nine years.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who was almost a non-entity in the game, said after the win

“The fans were fantastic. They did a great job and sang for the whole game. It gave the players the motivation and helped us get a massive result.”
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Published 19 Oct 2020, 21:43 IST
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