On the occasion of PSG’s short trip to Saudi Arabia, Lionel Messi and his troupe will play a friendly match this Thursday (18:00) against the best players of the country’s two flagship teams: Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr. Cristiano Ronaldo, the new star of Al-Nasr and the appointed captain of the team that will play PSG, will play his first match in a new color for the occasion. Representing a very relative sporting interest, this match, above all, symbolizes the end of an era, a turning page in the history of football.
Messi (35) and Ronaldo (37) will play their 37th and possibly last head-to-head at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh. Let’s take a look at five of the most memorable matches between these two absolute football legends, the protagonists of a fifteen-year rivalry.
May 27, 2009: meeting on the roof of Europe
Manchester United and Barcelona are in the Champions League final a year after their last clash, which resulted in the Catalan club being eliminated from the semi-finals (1-0). In the confrontation with the “red devils”, the holders of the title, the “Blaugranas” looked like they were hungry for revenge. With the Olimpico stadium packed to capacity, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or a few months earlier, and Messi will face his third face-to-face. CR7 and the Mancunians get a few chances before Samuel Eto’o chills them in the 10th minute.
Both teams return to the locker room with a score of 1:0. While Ronaldo has not been successful, Messi, hiding behind Ferdinand, surprises everyone and puzzles Van der Sar with his unstoppable head. End of the match, 2-0, Messi eclipses CR7, and the Catalans win the third Champions League in their history.
April 27, 2011: Messi destroyed Ronaldo and Real Madrid in 10 minutes.
In this Champions League semi-final, Real Madrid and Barcelona face off ten years after their last meeting at the most prestigious stage. Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, thrashed 5-0 by Messi’s Barcelona at the start of the season, is vengeful. At the Santiago Bernabéu, the match is shaping up to be a contentious one, and neither team manages to open the scoring until the 76th minute, when Messi comes in front of Sergio Ramos to take a cross from Ibrahim Afellay on the left.
Madrid, left in 10th place due to Pepe’s sending off earlier in the match, will try to equalize in front of La Pulga, this time on the ball left by Busquets in 86th, there is not enough speed for five players to shoot ball into the back of the net. The purpose of an anthology and an unforgettable individual performance, this match is clearly marked by the paw of Leo Messi.
October 7, 2012: two everywhere, ball in the center
For the first time in fourteen years, the Spanish Championship offers thousands of spectators around the world the Clasico at the Camp Nou from the 7th day of La Liga. For both clubs, this match is an opportunity to start the season well, as well as spoil the start of a historic rival. It is also important for Messi and Ronaldo to set the tone for the upcoming season. It was the Portuguese who opened the scoring from the left in the 22nd minute, and after 8 minutes the Argentine opponent caught him, 1:1.
Returning from the locker room, in the 60th minute, Messi gives his team an advantage with a luxurious free kick, the secret of which only he has. As with their rivalry, the two stars go one after the other, and this time it was Ronaldo’s turn to answer. He also scored his second goal of the match just five minutes after his opponent’s goal. Two teams go 2-2 in a meeting where both phenomena are neutralized.
April 23, 2017: iconic celebration after unreal game
Santiago Bernabéu, day 33 of La Liga, title decider. Real Madrid welcome their old enemy in a match that promises to be historic. From the very beginning of the match, Messi is spinning. Five minutes after Casemiro’s first punch, he sneaks into the Madrid zone and tricks Keylor Navas on the left. Ronaldo presses him, one of his only actions in the meeting. Alone against Ter Stegen, he lays too much on the ball and his shot ends up in the stands. Barça take the lead thanks to Rakitic before James Rodríguez takes two teams to 85th.
With the score at 10 to 11 (Ramos was sent off earlier in the match), Madrid think they hold the point to a draw when, in extra time, Messi delivers an unstoppable shot that decides the outcome of the match. The inhabitants of Madrid lie on the ground. Messi, standing in front of the astonished spectators at the Bernabéu, celebrates his 500th goal in the colors of Barça, showing them his jersey.
August 13, 2017: A burst of pride signed Cristiano Ronaldo
The Camp Nou hosts the final of the Spanish Super Cup, in which Barcelona will play against Real Madrid, and the Spanish champion against the European champion. Four months after Barcelona’s extreme victory that took them to the title, Ronaldo and Madrid are vindictive.
While Messi holds on, his Portuguese opponent starts the match on the bench. The first goal of the game was scored in the 49th minute when Piqué cheated on his goalkeeper with a deflected cross. Barça equalized on penalties in 76th thanks to their rather restrained Argentine genius. Cristiano Ronaldo, who entered the game a few minutes early, will bring Real Madrid back with a superb kick just four minutes after Leo Messi’s goal.
Wounded in his pride by his defeat to his Argentine enemy four months earlier, CR7 responds by reenacting the same celebration in front of the Camp Nou fans. His celebration earned him his first yellow card, and a few minutes later he received a second, synonymous with exclusion. At 10 to 11, Real won 3-1.