CRISTIANO RONALDO and Lionel Messi will BOTH be forced to watch the Champions League quarter-finals on the telly for the first time since 2005.
Ronaldo’s Juventus crashed out on away goals to Porto before Messi failed to inspire Barcelona to another memorable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.
As Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe continue to send shockwaves around Europe with their goalscoring performances, there is certainly a feeling that the guard is starting to change.
But how do Messi and Ronaldo compare in the Champions League?
Between them, they have lifted the trophy nine times in 15 years – Messi four, Ronaldo five.
In each of the other years, the eventual champions have knocked out one of them on their way to glory, with Bayern Munich the most-recent example in emphatic fashion last season.
Ronaldo made his Sporting Lisbon debut earlier than his long-term rival but his side did not qualify for the tournament in 2002-03, meaning he made his bow in 2003-04 with Manchester United.
But Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost to a Porto team managed by a certain Jose Mourinho who went on to the win it.
The 2004-05 season was Messi’s first in the Barcelona senior side and, before this week, was the last time neither player reached the last eight.
It was a time when YouTube and Google Maps launched, Charles and Camilla married, Shayne Ward won The X Factor and Brangelina became a thing.
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Barca were knocked out by Chelsea while AC Milan got the better of United before losing to Liverpool in the final.
Messi got his hands on the famous cup in 2006, although he didn’t play in the final against Arsenal, before Ronaldo did so two years later after United beat Barca in the semis thanks to Paul Scholes’ wondergoal.
They met in the 2009 final when Barca beat the Red Devils in Rome and then two years later as Messi inspired a semi-final win over Ronaldo’s Real Madrid before seeing off United again.
That was the last time they played each other in the competition until the group stages this season – Ronaldo missed the tie in Turin due to coronavirus but inspired Juventus to the top of Group G with two goals at the Nou Camp in their 36th head-to-head clash.
Since then, though, Barcelona have won the Champions League just once – in 2015 – while Ronaldo and Los Blancos have picked up four in that time, including a hat-trick between 2016 and 2018.
Messi’s Catalan giants suffered dramatic exits to Roma, Liverpool and Bayern before this season’s defeat to PSG.
For Ronaldo, he left Real in 2018 for a new challenge at Juventus with the Old Lady desperately hoping he can inspire them to European glory for the first time since 1996.
But so far, they are yet to get beyond the quarter-finals with shock defeats to Ajax, Lyon and now Porto.