Lionel Messi brought Cristiano Ronaldo to his knees with Barcelona goal in 2011

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo playing against each other every season was a beautiful thing.

For nine years, football fans were treated to the best two players of a generation locking horns at least twice a season thanks to their allegiances to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

However, we're now approaching two years without seeing Ronaldo and Messi sharing the same pitch with the former having looked for a new challenge by moving to Juventus in 2018.

The pair have explained that they would love to contest the same league again, but the thought of Ronaldo returning to Spain or Messi switching to Serie A both seem impossible in equal measure.

But in a time where live football has been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic - and rightfully so, we hastened to add - reminiscing on old games and moments has become more popular than ever.

Ronaldo and Messi going head-to-head

So, we figured that if we were going to put on our nostalgia goggles, we might as well direct them to the era when Ronaldo and Messi were going blow for blow at the peak of their powers.

But as much as the mercurial pair shared the pitch semi-often, the fact they are both attacking players means that, sadly for entertainment purposes, they rarely came into direct opposition.

As a result, some of the rare exceptions to the rule have instantly become iconic and they don't get much better than Barcelona's 3-2 win over Real during the 2011 Supercopa de España.

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When Messi floored Ronaldo

Why? Well, Ronaldo and Messi weren't just involved in some trivial interception, tackle or marking, rather they actually challenged one another barely seconds before the ball hit the net.

That's because Ronaldo had tracked back to help defend a Barcelona corner, only to find himself still in the penalty area when Gerard Pique neatly back-heeled the ball into Messi's path.

And while the more defensively-focused Sami Khedira seemed to back out of a challenge, it was left to Ronaldo to hunt down his eternal rival as he closed in on Iker Casillas one-on-one.

The result, as you'll have gathered from the headline, saw Ronaldo desperately reaching for Messi to the point he fell to his feet and earned a front row seat for Messi's finish. Check it out below:

You simply couldn't write it.

There's something surreal about Messi scoring a classic solo at Camp Nou, but instead of a random player crawling for his jersey, it's the player to whom he's been compared for his entire career.

The slow motion footage of Ronaldo clutching at thin air and knee-sliding as if he's scored a goal of his own is just so perfect that you wonder why the moment isn't reflected upon more often.

It would ultimately give Barcelona the upper-hand in the contest, too, as they saw off their opponents in the dying minutes as Messi's second cancelled out a Karim Benzema equaliser. 

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However, Ronaldo would get the last laugh when it came to the 2011/12, silencing the Camp Nou on his next visit to ensure Los Blancos secured the La Liga crown with a record 100 points.

And who knows, perhaps it was the memories of watching Messi dazzle just a few inches in front of his eyes that inspired him to get revenge in the most dramatic way possible.

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