Barcelona all-time great Rivaldo has shared his thoughts on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo reigniting their rivalry in the UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same Champions League group, which also includes Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros, meaning Messi and Ronaldo are set to clash once more in what would be their first matchup since the latter’s move to Juventus.
Like fans of the two superstars, former Barca playmaker Rivaldo is also looking forward to Messi and Ronaldo reviving their rivalry.
“Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same Champions League group and it will be great to see Lionel Messi play against Cristiano Ronaldo again,” Rivaldo said in a recent exclusive interview with Betfair.
“It will light up the competition as the entire world will want to watch their matches,” he continued. “With Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros completing the group, Juve and Barca should easily qualify and battle for the first place.”
Messi and Ronaldo have had historic clashes in La Liga’s El Clasico, with both players putting on dominant performances. However, after Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018, Messi has received criticism for not performing as well as he used to.
Rivaldo, however, believes that Messi and Ronaldo will be in their best form when they finally share the pitch once again.
“Some people have said Messi dropped his performance level a little bit after Ronaldo’s departure from Spain [La Liga], so this is an excellent chance for both players to be at their best when they face each other,” the Brazilian added. “It was always a healthy duel between them, which motivated the players, so it will be great to see this positive rivalry renewed for at least 180 minutes.”
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face off in the Champions League group stage after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn together
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face off in the Champions League group stage after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn together Photo: AFP / Josep LAGO
Last year, Ronaldo finally addressed the comparisons with Messi and said they have both improved over time. However, he pointed out that he has proven himself by competing in different leagues while Messi has always been with Barcelona.
“The difference with Messi is that I played for several clubs and won the Champions League with different clubs,” Ronaldo said in August last year.
“Messi is an excellent player who will be remembered not just for his Ballon d’Or wins, but also for having improved like me year after year,” he added.
Messi, on the other hand, famously said in 2017 that Ronaldo is a “phenomenal player” while shutting down the hype over their rivalry.
“I have always said it and [Ronaldo] from his part that he is armed with the presence of us both,” Messi said in 2017. “We try to achieve the best every year for our team, and what is said outside of that I don’t think is very important. He is a phenomenal player with a lot of quality. All the world knows, and that is why he is one of the best of the world.”