Messi-Ronaldo, two twilights in the antipodes

FOR REVIEW – Against this Thursday (6 pm) in Saudi Arabia, in a friendly, the two giants have a new opportunity to cross swords. The last one?

Gala poster, clash of giants. Despite all sporting considerations, PSG, in trouble since the end of the World Cup, will face this Thursday (6 pm, at be Sports) a selection of players from two Saudi clubs, Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, in Riyadh. And this as part of a mini-tour with commercial and diplomatic accents in the Gulf, in Qatar and then in Saudi Arabia. “No mood» for Christophe Galtier, a philosopher when respecting this promise «date from last year“. “As Al-Nassr’s coach, I will not be happy with that match. We have a championship meeting in three days. In terms of programming, it could be better thought out“, laments Rudi Garcia, who speaks very little of the language of wood in the newspaper The team. A match that will still be of interest, and not the least: the confrontation with the Parisian Leo Messi against the new spearhead of Al-Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo.

A new clash between two giants of the world of football, perhaps the last to know that CR7 has turned his back on European football after a failed return to Manchester United and a painful World Cup in Portugal. The twilight of the five-time Portuguese Ballon d’Or is painful to say, almost embarrassing at times, from his adventures with Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford to his substitute status and his tears on the Qatari pitch.

Ronaldo’s tears, Messi’s dedication

Of course, that doesn’t take anything away from Ronaldo’s brilliant career. But the contrast is striking to say the least while, at the same time, his eternal Argentinian rival is still playing at the highest level. One might doubt it at the end of Pulga’s first year in Paris, having clearly raised the bar early in the season with PSG before guiding Argentina to the roof of the world in Qatar. All before discussing the contract extension with the leaders of Paris, although Al-Hilal dreams of luring him… to Saudi Arabia. Messi will be free next June.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi clashed at the end of 2020, respectively with Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​in the group stage of C1. ALBERT GEA / REUTERS

Two rooms, two environments. And this while the two thieves have been sailing in the same places for a long time. Big gap. Defines a playerwonderful, magical, wonderful“, the former Madrilenian did not fail to remember them “shared the stage for 16 yearsa few weeks ago, in an interview with Piers Morgan. “I have a great relationship with him, I really respect him, he is a great person who does great things for football“, he hinted. Rivals, yes. Enemies, no. “We have been playing in the same league for a long time, Messi reminded Marca more than a year ago. We competed individually and as a team for the same goals. It was a very good phase for us and also for the people because they really appreciated it. It is a great memory that will remain in the history of football.“For one night, on the lawn of King Fahd Stadium, these memories will merge into the present. Delicious.

36 rivalry between two giants

All this, 15 years after the first duel between the two men. It was in the spring of 2008, during the semi-final of the Champions League won by Ronaldo’s Manchester United against Messi’s Barça (0-0, 1-0). Obviously, the Funchal native’s move to Real Madrid, in 2009, took the rivalry to another dimension. In total, they have faced each other 36 times directly, including 16 wins for Messi (22 goals, 12 assists), nine draws and 11 wins for Ronaldo (21 goals, 1 assist). Coincidentally, CR7 rose to the ranks of the top scorer (140) and best passer (48) in the Champions League, with five coronations, ahead of Pulga (129 goals and 45 assists, 4 titles), the latter obtained by a large lead in the number of Golden Balls (7 against 5). And maybe it won’t end…

This time, Ronaldo-Messi, it’s for butter, for gaudriole. Not without interest, although one and the other would undoubtedly prefer to work quietly because of the upcoming deadlines. As for Lionel Messi and his teammates, Wednesday is an opportunity to honor some commitments to partners before a training session at the Khalifa Stadium. “We feel at home here in Qatar. We were very well received and placed in the best conditions. The warmth brought by our supporters will fuel us for the rest of the season“, assured the captain of PSG, Marquinhos, through the club media. A season that could allow Messi, 35, to continue writing his legend on the courts of Europe. Two years his senior, Ronaldo, will try to he will end his career with dignity and shine a light on an emerging Saudi championship. The Argentinian, who was named ambassador of Saudi tourism last year, has also undertaken a promotional mission. Forever linked.

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