International Players

How did Cristiano Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi to the UEFA Champions League group stage meeting?

How did Cristiano Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi to the UEFA Champions League group stage meeting?

As the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League campaign kicks off this midweek, players across all European clubs will be seeking to stamp their authority on Europe's premier club competition. The group stages are more of an exhibition stage, where the smaller teams try to showcase their talents and cause upsets whilst the bigger teams show their strength and depth by navigating the group stages in a hopeful easy manner. But for the rivalry of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, there is no let-up or down period. 

The Argentine Maestro left his beloved Barcelona after 18 years to team up with a former teammate, Neymar, in an ambitious and heavily-stocked Paris Saint-German side. Lionel Messi joined PSG on a free transfer and he would hope to win the UEFA Champions League title again after FC Barcelona has fallen off the rails for a long time. The Parisian side will start their campaign with an away tie to Club Brugge on Wednesday, September 14th. 

In the aftermath of Lionel Messi moving to Paris Saint-Germain, there were strong rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo could also move to Manchester City for the upcoming season. If the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner moved to Pep Guardiola's side, then he would have set a collision course between himself and Lionel Messi for the group stage. Both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City were drawn in the same Group A alongside Club Brugge and RB Leipzig. 

The two eternal rivals would have first faced off in the first leg on 28th September at the Parc des Princes. After then, a return leg would be played at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium home on 24th November. However, with Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Manchester United, he has avoided a group stage face-off with his rival. Though, it is almost inevitable that both players will face off in the latter stages of the competition if neither team crashes out too early.

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