14th March, 2018
They were rivals in LaLiga and in the Champions’ League as well as on the global stage. Now one has left the Laliga but the competition continues at continental and global level. I guess you already know that we are talking about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo here.
While many of their fans will prefer to be enemies to one another, the stars are not on such a frequency as they actually relate well with one another off the football field.
This has once again be proven right as Messi has come out to praise Ronaldo for his impressive display a few days back as he virtually single-handedly rescued Juventus from an imminent elimination from the Champions’ League Competition by scoring a hat-trick that saw Juve progress to the quarter-finals.
Barcelona’s Captain, Lionel Messi hailed Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick performance against Atletico Madrid as “magical” following his own dazzling display for Barcelona in the Champions League.
A day earlier, Ronaldo equalled Messi’s Champions League hat-trick record with his eighth in Juventus’ 3-0 victory over Atletico on Tuesday – the treble sealing a stunning 3-2 aggregate triumph en route to the quarter-finals.
On Wednesday, Barcelona then joined Juve in the last eight after Messi’s two goals and two assists inspired a 5-1 rout of Lyon at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi produced another brilliant performance, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner praised Ronaldo’s display 24 hours earlier.
“A lot of things I liked about the Champions League,” Messi told Movistar after Barca’s match.
“Yesterday, Cristiano and Juventus impressed me. I thought Atletico would be stronger. Cristiano had a magical night with all three goals.”
The game between Barca and Lyon was equally poised after last month’s first leg goalless draw in France.
Even though in this return leg, Barcelona put five goals past Lyon, it was not all smooth sailing for the LaLiga champions, who led 2-0 after 31 minutes thanks to Messi and Philippe Coutinho, only for Lucas Tousart to pull a goal back when the game was approaching the hour-mark.
Barcelona however put the tie beyond doubt with three late goals within eight minutes from Messi, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele to see off the Ligue 1 visitors.
“We complicated ourselves only in a set-piece action,” Messi said. “We spent minutes of suffering, [but] with 3-1 everything calmed down.
“We went from the start to look for it, when we found the goal we handled the ball better, we moved it calmly, saw the best version.”