Champions League quarters without Messi or Ronaldo: a first since 2005

They ruled world football – and therefore Europe – for more than a decade. It doesn’t say it’s over. Nevertheless, 2021, more than 2020, looks at least like a halt. Tuesday evening, at the end of an exciting round of 16, Juventus Turin – as often – left the bitter competition. Exit by FC Porto (3-2, ap), the Old Lady, who has been running for a new consecration in C1 for a quarter of a century, was asked to put her things away before the start of the banquet. From the round of 16, as in 2020 when OL came to undermine the ambitions of Andrea Agnelli’s club.
Cristiano Ronaldo released … and soon imitated by Lionel Messi. After the XXL slap of the way, FC Barcelona did not reverse the trend against Paris Saint-Germain, Wednesday at Parc des Princes (1-1). Like CR7, Messi left before seeing the Top 8.

At the beginning of April, we will therefore be entitled to the private quarter-finals of the two footballers who have monopolized the attention for more than a decade. Quarterbacks without the two men to the 11 Ballons d’Or, this had not happened since 2005.

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Lionel Messi was then a youngster who was building himself in the shadow of Ronaldinho. Cristiano Ronaldo was learning the trade with Sir Alex Ferguson’s hair dryer. That season, Barcelona had folded in the eighth against Chelsea Mourinho after an exceptional return match. United, for their part, had suffered the cold lethality of AC Milan, future winner of the competition.

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Since then, often together, sometimes one without the other, they had taken center stage. For the following balance sheet. For once, we wanted to combine their collective achievements, without opposing the two men:

  • 9 wins in the Champions League
  • 1 final lost
  • 10 participations in the semi-finals
  • 253 buts

The absence of these two leaders at the time of European spring is obviously symbolic, in the first place. But she probably says something more. Because, if we can extend the time, we never go back. At 33 and 36, the Argentinian and the Portuguese – who had already deserted the C1 far from the top last season – are less impactful and, also, less well surrounded than they were. By force of circumstance, both weigh less on collectives which hardly replace them when things turn sour. The consequence is before our eyes. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will not brighten up the end of the continental season. See you in 2022 to ensure that the parenthesis was really one and not an end point.


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