Former Real Madrid CF player Cristiano Ronaldo will finally get a chance to face-off with his long-time rival, Lionel Messi, when his new club, Juventus, faces FC Barcelona for the second time in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The highly anticipated "reunion" between Ronaldo and Messi was supposed to take place back at the end of October, when the two teams met in the first round of the group stage. However, Ronaldo was unable to face Messi due to a positive COVID-19 test. The Portuguese forward was sidelined for about three weeks after testing positive while on international duty with his national team.
On that occasion, Juventus hosted Barcelona but were defeated 0-2 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. In the away leg at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, Juventus will have Ronaldo on the roster, but will not have the home stadium advantage. Nevertheless, they will be eager to turn the tide after the loss in the first encounter.
Both teams will be playing mostly for pride, and for the top spot in the group. Barcelona is currently undefeated so far, with 15 points from 5 games. Meanwhile, Juventus sits in second place with 12 points. Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros only have one point each, and will only be playing for the UEFA Europa League spot.
Leading up to the reunion, Messi has not been impressive. Despite the fact that Barcelona is unbeaten in the Champions League, Messi was not a stand-out performer this season and the club's domestic campaign has been in shambles. The Barcelona captain has been under the spotlight for scoring only two goals from open play so far this season, with youngster Ansu Fati outshining him in front to the goal.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo suffered the coronavirus setback but his season has been stellar otherwise. He has scored eighth goals for Juventus from open play plus two penalties. Regardless of the current goal tally, their individual performance on Tuesday evening will be the subject of a lot of discussions afterward. It remains to be seen which superstar will emerge on top.