Wednesday, May 25, 2022
HomeSportMessi to lock horns with Ronaldo in Champions League

Messi to lock horns with Ronaldo in Champions League

Two of the greatest players of all time in Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo will meet in a mouthwatering Champions League last 16 soccer tie pitting Paris St-Germain against Manchester United.
The two sides were drawn to play each other next year with the English side hosting the first leg at Old Trafford, which will be spread over February 15, 16, 22 and 23. The return leg in Paris is set for March 8, 9, 15 and 16.
The prospect of Messi facing Ronaldo will gain plenty of attention.
Messi recently won an unprecedented seventh Ballon d’Or, taking him two clear of Ronaldo’s haul. The two have most notably faced one another during spells with Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Messi and Ronaldo have met in 36 previous games, with Messi finishing on the winning side 16 times and Ronaldo 11 with the Argentinian scoring 22 goals to Ronaldo’s 21 in these matches.
Ronaldo, who has won the competition five times with United and Real Madrid, has inspired progress into the last 16 while Messi’s primary mission after signing for PSG from Barcelona is to help them land the Champions League for the first time, having claimed it four times at the Nou Camp.
In a game not short on narratives, PSG will be led by the manager many believe may well be at Old Trafford next season, Mauricio Pochettino.
It is a tough draw for United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick but not without hope as PSG looked a fractured, inconsistent side when winning and then losing against Manchester City in the group phase – although aside from Messi he must also work out a way to combat Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, if the Brazilian is fit.
For the other English Premier League clubs, there will be a sense of cautious optimism as life could have been much harder, with holders Chelsea facing French champions Lille while Liverpool are paired with heavy underdogs Red Bull Salzburg.
Manchester City will also be quietly confident of progress against Villarreal but manager Pep Guardiola will be wary of last season’s Europa League winners as they are led by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who has a knack of producing big results in European competitions.
The pick of the other matches look set to be Atlético Madrid v Bayern Munich and Internazionale v Ajax. Sporting play Juventus and Benfica face Real Madrid in the remaining ties.
A major change from this season sees the away goals rule removed, so ties level after 180 minutes will go to extra time.
If the teams still cannot be separated after the additional 30 minutes, then it goes to a penalty shootout.
This season’s final takes place in St Petersburg, Russia, on May 28.

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