Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo in Champions League: Every time they’ve faced each other and who won


Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go head-to-head in the 2020-21 Champions League group stages after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn together in Group G.

The Spanish and Italian sides are joined by Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvarosi FC.

But all eyes will be on those two mouth-watering clashes between Barça and Juve over the coming months.

Messi and Ronaldo have not faced each other since the latter left Real Madrid in the summer of 2018.

And you have to go back even longer for the last time they met in the Champions League.

In total, there have been five meetings involving the legendary forwards in Europe’s premier club cup competition - but which player has got the upper-hand in these fixtures?

April 23, 2008 - Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United

The two superstars, already widely regarded as two of the world’s best players, first went head-to-head during the 2007-08 Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo had an opportunity to score from the penalty spot inside the opening three minutes but blazed his spot-kick wide.


No goals were scored but Messi was described by BBC Sport as “the game’s outstanding performer” until he was substituted for Bojan Krkic on 62 minutes.

“United had vowed to attack but they were forced to play a containing game as Barcelona played possession football, with Lionel Messi at the heart of everything,” the BBC’s Andrew McKenzie wrote on the night.

Who played better? Lionel Messi.


April 29, 2008 - Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona

Manchester United reached the 2008 Champions League final thanks to a moment of magic from Paul Scholes, whose spectacular 25-yard rocket will always be fondly remembered by the Old Trafford faithful.

But despite the scoreline, Messi was outstanding once again on the night, constantly threatening the United defence with his runs from the right flank.

This was the game the Argentine left Scholes for dead with a brilliant piece of skill.

Ronaldo was on the winning team but, in truth, he was quiet.

Messi, on the other hand, was named BBC Sport’s Player Rater Man of the Match.

Who played better? Lionel Messi.

May 27. 2009 - Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United

Ronaldo’s final appearance in a Man Utd shirt, the Portuguese international was unable to inspire his team to glory in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome.

Pep Guardiola’s side were far superior to Sir Alex Ferguson’s team that year, so Barça’s victory was anything but a surprise.

United, though, were the better side in the opening 10 minutes and Ronaldo, in particular, was a constant threat.


But everything changed after Samuel Eto’o put the Catalan giants 1-0 up with a close-range finish.

Messi then took the game by the scruff of the neck, alongside Xavi, and scored Barça’s second goal with a famous header in the 70th minute.

Messi was subsequently named the Fans’ Man of the Match for his “glorious personal performance” - per BBC Sport’s match report - on the night.

Who played better? Lionel Messi.


April 27, 2011 - Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona

Messi produced a virtuoso display in the first leg of the 2010-11 Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In a bad-tempered clash at the Bernabeu - in which Pepe was sent off and Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands shortly afterwards - Messi scored two late goals to leave his side with one foot in the 2011 Champions League final.

His second goal, where he slalomed past several Madrid players before sticking the ball past Iker Casillas, is one of the greatest we’ve seen in Champions League history.

Who played better? Lionel Messi.


May 3, 2011 - Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

Messi and Ronaldo both played the full 90 minutes in this fixture at Camp Nou but neither managed to get themselves on the scoresheet.

Pedro put Barcelona 1-0 up early in the second half before Marcelo equalised 10 minutes later.

It was Barça who subsequently booked their place in the 2011 Champions League final.

Both Messi and Ronaldo showed flashes of brilliance on the night, so we’ll call this one a draw.

Who played better? Draw.


So, there we have it. When it comes to Champions League meetings between the two legends, Messi has always prevailed.

But will that change during this season’s group stages?

You can be absolutely certain that Ronaldo, aka ’Mr Champions League’, will be desperate to get one over Barcelona and his eternal rival Messi.

And you wouldn’t bet against him doing just that.

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