Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine Lionel Messi have both dominated Europe’s top inter-club competition, UEFA Champions League for the last 15 years, but now, for the first time since 2005, neither of Ronaldo or Messi will be in this year’s semi-finals of the elite club competition.
The End of the Ronaldo and Messi Era
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Sporting attacker has won the competition five times while Lionel Messi has won it four times at Barcelona, but it increasingly appears like their era of dominance and supremacy is gradually coming to an end.
Both players are goal machines, as they both have fantastic goal-scoring records in the UEFA Champions League, with Ronaldo winning the Champions League golden boot on seven occasions and Messi on six occasions.
Only Gerd Muller has come close to the fantastic duo, having won the top goalscorer prize four times in the Champions League competition. The duo have scored in the final of the European club competition, twice for Lionel Messi and four times for Ronaldo.
Records have it that the two ‘super humans’ have scored a total of 245 UEFA Champions League goals between them so far, with Ronaldo contributing 130 and making 38 assists, while Lionel Messi has contributed 115 goals and created 33 assists.
Despite participating in this season’s UEFA Champions League, neither Ronaldo nor Messi have performed well enough, only netting three and four goals. It’s been a champions League to forget for the duo.
Currently leading the scorers’ chart is Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski with 14 goals in 8 matches and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is in second position on eight goals this season so far.
At the age of 35, Ronaldo has realized that life is hard outside of Real Madrid and, despite playing at a very high standard; he hasn’t been able to replicate the successes he had in Madrid with Serie A giants Juventus, who he had played numerous games for and BoyleSports placed odds on every single one of them for the football fans.
For 33-year-old Lionel Messi, he has squandered his opportunities of winning the competition again as his FC Barcelona team looks to be at the end of a major golden era. Despite winning the competition four times, the ‘little’ Argentine hasn’t lifted the trophy for nine years.
Cristiano Ronaldo only recently dismissed rumors about his future by claiming his focus is on finishing the campaign strongly with his Italian side.
The Turin giant crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the round of 16 stages last week, losing to Portuguese club FC Porto on away goals after forcing the game into extra-time.
The Portuguese was in the days that followed the exit, has been linked with a return to La Liga giants Real Madrid in the summer – but the attacker posted a message of defiance on his official Instagram page on Saturday.
Alongside a picture of himself in training, Cristiano Ronaldo said: ‘More important than the number of falls you take in life is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet… True champions never break!
‘Our focus is already in Cagliari, in the Serie A struggle, in the Italian Cup final, and in everything that we can still achieve this season.
‘It’s true that the past belongs in museums (I should say!), but fortunately, football has memory… and so do I!
‘History can’t be deleted, it’s written every single day with resilience, team spirit, persistence, and lots of hard work.
And those who don’t understand this will never achieve glory and success #finoallafine’.
As the clock ticks down for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, other top players like Dortmund striker Haaland, PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, and Athletico Madrid attacker Joao Felix are beginning to replace the duo in the spotlight.
It appears we have new heroes in Mbappe and Halland. As time passes by, the UEFA Champions League waits for no footballer.