Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi made bold statements in their quest to lift the coveted Champions League trophy once again.
Ronaldo played a central role in Juventus colors as the Italian giants trashed their Spanish counterparts Atletico Madrid. The Old Lady went down 2-0, disappointingly, in their first-leg encounter against Diego Simeoni’s men. However, CR7 had scored a hat-trick on Tuesday to steer his club past Los Rojiblancos—a performance which attracted praise from Messi.
“Ronaldo was very impressive. His performance was an outcome of individual skills and teamwork,” the Argentina international said.
He continued, “I expected Atletico Madrid to defend their previous win…I thought they’d be hard to defeat after achieving such a mean feat in their first game.
“No doubts, it was a magical outing for Ronaldo…Scoring three goals in a Champions League is a rare achievement.”
Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or a record five times with Ronaldo, strived to match the Portuguese goal-scoring spree as Barcelona drubbed Lyon on Wednesday. Both players have competed on the biggest football stage for over a decade and are currently enjoying a terrific form.
Messi proved himself as influential as CR7, and eventually scored a brace against Lyon to assert his position in world football. He also provided two assists in Barca’s 5-1 win against the French club—a cross for Gerard Pique and another for Ousmane Dembele.
Football pundits are in agreement that Messi and Ronaldo deserve another Champions League. However, it would still be a showdown if both Juventus and Barcelona met before the 1 June finals in Madrid.
Messi admitted he’s not thinking about an encounter with Juventus at this time, adding that all teams currently in contest for the CL trophy are “complicated.”
“You can see that with the performance from Ajax,” Messi noted. “The club has an amazing team of young, talented footballers who are not afraid to face anyone.
“Our upcoming games will not be easy…no matter who we face.”
Messi encouraged his Barca teammates to work harder in preparation for the tough games ahead