UEFA Champions League news: We can expect Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi going head-to-head in the final this year - Alan Shearer
What's the story?
This week marks the beginning of the quarterfinals of Europe's elite club competition, the UEFA Champions League. With only eight teams left in the tournament, Premier League legend Alan Shearer has claimed that he sees Serie A giants Juventus and LaLiga front-runners Barcelona as the potential finalists.
He said in his column in The Sun that the presence of two of the greatest footballers of our times in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, give their respective clubs an edge over any opposition they might have to face on their way to the final.
In case you didn't know...
Portuguese star Ronaldo became the only player in the competition's history to lift the trophy on five occasions, as he helped his former club Real Madrid secure an unprecedented third consecutive triumph in the competition last May.
The dynamic duo had faced each other in the title-deciding match of the competition only once in their careers in the 2008-09 season.
Ronaldo, who was still playing for Manchester United at that time failed to step up in the fixture, while Messi scored at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy as Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 defeat upon the Red Devils to end Ronaldo's Old Trafford stint with a loss.
The Heart of the matter...
Barcelona and Juventus, who are the table-toppers in their respective leagues at the moment are touted to be the favourites for lifting the Champions League trophy this season.
If the clubs are able to overcome their opponents in the subsequent rounds leading to the final at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, we would be in for an absolute treat, with Messi and Ronaldo going head-to-head again, after almost an year.
Former England striker, Alan Shearer, who never won the competition in his illustrious career, wrote in his column that though Manchester United made a great comeback against PSG last time around, Barca are just too good for them. He wrote,
"YOU cannot write off Manchester United after the way they fought back to beat Paris Saint-Germain."
But I just think Barcelona will have too much for them over two games — mainly because of that guy Lionel Messi."
He said that just as Blaugrana have the Argentine to thank for their success, Bianconeri have Ronaldo, who makes all the difference on the pitch. He added:
"And I think it will be the same for Ajax against Juventus because of Cristiano Ronaldo."
Finally, he concluded by saying that he clearly sees the two clubs to be in the final of the competition He said:
"You can already imagine a Juve versus Barca final, with two of the greatest footballers we have ever seen, going head-to-head once again."
Juventus take on Ajax in their last-eight fixture of Champions League, while Barcelona head to the Old Trafford, with both the matches kicking-off at the same time tomorrow.
It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo overcomes shrugs off his injury in time for the crucial fixture.