The first Champions League without Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2003

The first Champions League without Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2003

Between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two have played in more than 350 Champions League matches.

Cristiano Ronaldo (187) is the player with the record number of appearances in the top continental competition; Leo Messi (163) is third. Between them, they have 270 goals in the Champions League and are the two top scorers in the competition.

Cristiano has won five; Leo, four. However, 2023/24 will be historic because neither of them will play in the competition. It will be the first time since 2003 that this has happened.

“It’s an honor to play in the Champions League, the most important competition,” Cristiano said in an interview with UEFA in the past. The Portuguese holds countless records in the continental competition, and now he is preparing to take on new challenges: the Champions League… but in Asia.

“Being the top scorer in the history of the competition makes it even more special for me. This tournament is very important to me,” he added.

The Champions League is a special competition for the best of the best. Messi reflected on this last season, after lifting it several times… and failing in others.”

“It is a very difficult competition to win… because it is not always won by the best, it is always decided by small details,” he said.

Numbers within reach… nobody’s reach

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s best season in the Champions League in terms of numbers was 2013/14: 17 goals in 11 games. He scored in every game he played except for the first leg of the semifinals against Bayern.

He ended that edition with victory in Lisbon against Atletico Madrid. In 2015/16 he would win again, once again against the local rival. He ended that year with 16 goals in 12 matches with a hat-trick against Wolfsburg that capped off a comeback in the quarterfinals.

Messi y Ronaldo se saludan en un Cl

Messi y Ronaldo se saludan en un Clsico.Francesc Adelantado / MARCA.

His last great season at continental level was 2017/18, his last at Real Madrid. And again as champion, this time against Liverpool in Kiev. He scored 15 goals in 13 games and scored in 10 consecutive matches, including the famous strike against Juventus in Turin in the quarterfinals.

Like Cristiano, Messi also led Barcelona to glorious triumphs. And he got used to scoring in finals. In 2008/09 he knocked out Manchester United in Rome, scoring one of the goals and beating Cristiano Ronaldo.

In 2010/11, without the Portuguese at Old Trafford, he beat the Red Devils again in the final: 3-1 and with another goal from the Argentine.

He would win it again in 2014/15, this time against Juventus in Berlin. He did not score in the final, he assisted, but his monumental match in the first leg of the semifinals against Bayern is well remembered: two goals and an assist for the 3-0 win, including the ‘dribble’ against Jerome Boateng that went viral around the world.

“It has been wonderful and has helped us both to continue growing in our respective careers,” Messi said when asked about the rivalry with Cristiano.

A competition that helped both become the best players in the world, and that has made the Champions League the best club competition on the planet.

Source From: Champions League // marca

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