Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona legend Lionel Messi both struggled in the Champions League this week.
Messi scored from the penalty spot but was unable to prevent Barça slumping to a 4-1 home defeat against Paris Saint-Germain.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, flattered to deceive as Juve suffered a 2-1 loss against FC Porto.
That PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland produced two superb individual performances on the same nights led some football fans to proclaim that we’ve seen a changing of the guard.
Messi and Ronaldo have been on their own at the top for the best part of 15 years but now face stiff competition for the title of world’s best footballer.
That’s hardly surprising given their respective ages.
Ronaldo celebrated his 36th birthday earlier this month while Messi turns 34 in June. Both superstars, who share an astonishing 11 Ballon d’Or awards between them, are approaching the end of their remarkable careers.
However, Arsene Wenger believes the fact Juventus and Barcelona are reliant on their veteran forwards shows their teammates aren’t good enough.
The former Arsenal boss has sympathy for the two legends.
“It’s a problem that [Juve] are only relying on Ronaldo,” Wenger told beIN SPORTS, “that just shows that the players around him just aren’t good enough.
“It’s the same for Messi. If the team is overly reliant on Messi, it’s because the players around him are not good enough.”
Harsh on Ronaldo and Messi’s teammates, or a fair assessment?
Ronaldo’s teammates against Porto included Federico Chiesa, Dejan Kulusevski, Weston McKennie, Matthijs de Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini.
Messi’s teammates against PSG included Antoine Griezmann, Pedri, Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and arguably the world’s best goalkeeper in Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
All very good players, obviously, but you can understand where Wenger is coming from.
Ronaldo won the biggest trophies of his career surrounded by top talents like Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale at Real Madrid.
While at Manchester United, the Portuguese icon starred alongside Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez and co.
Messi, on the other hand, shone brightest when he played with Xavi and Andres Iniesta, or Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Are their current teammates at the same world-class level? With the exception of one or two, probably not.