Lionel Messi suffered his latest Champions League exit with Barcelona on Wednesday night.
It’s no secret that the Blaugrana have struggled in Europe since the last time they lifted ‘Big Ears’ in 2015 and this season was no different with a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG 1-1 Barcelona (5-2)
In fact, Barcelona stuttered into their second leg at the Parc des Princes with their tail between their legs having been humiliated 4-1 on their own patch just a few weeks prior.
On that occasion, Kylian Mbappe helped himself to a hat-trick, stoking the flames of suggestions that the young superstars of the new generation were overthrowing Messi‘s era of dominance.
And although Barcelona gave a better account of themselves in the return leg, drawing 1-1 in Paris, it was ultimately futile in hauling them anywhere near the Champions League quarter-finals.
Heartbreak for Messi and Ronaldo
It was an eventful evening for Messi personally, too, as the Barcelona captain tasted both ecstasy and heartbreak by way of scoring a stunning goal and bungling a penalty in quick succession.
However, Messi could at least reassure himself that the player to whom he is perpetually compared also suffered a Champions League blow as Juventus bowed out against Porto on Tuesday.
As such, this season marks the first time since 2004/05 that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Messi have been present in the Champions League quarter-finals.
But there has been one point that many football fans have been keen to raise in the wake of the two superstars’ elimination: Ronaldo is three years older than Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi at age 33
Now, on a surface level, that lays the foundation for supporters to cut Ronaldo more slack than his rival but better still, they have dug up what he – by comparison – achieved in the Champions League at Messi’s age.
In other words, fans are noting that Ronaldo was lifting the fifth Champions League title of his career and scoring braces against PSG and Juventus whereas Messi was dipping out in the round of 16.
However, before we deep-dive too much into the Ronaldo vs Messi rabbit hole, be sure to listen to the comparisons from the horse’s mouth itself and check out the reaction on Twitter down below:
Ouch. Those comparisons hardly shone brightly on Messi, did they?
Full Ronaldo vs Messi (33) breakdown
However, as I’m sure you’re aware, Twitter don’t always get things bang on the money when it comes to stats, so let’s sift through the fact from fiction here and make our own little summary here:
Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League at 33
1. Scoring three goals over two legs vs PSG
2. Scoring three goals over two legs vs Juventus
3. Scoring arguably the greatest Champions League goal of all time
4. Winning the fifth Champions League title of his career
5. Scoring a stunning volley vs Manchester United
Lionel Messi in the Champions League at 33
1. Only one goal from open play
2. Knocked out of the Champions League second round for the first time since 2005
3. Humiliated 3-0 at home by Juventus
4. Humiliated 4-1 at home by Paris Saint-Germain
5. No Champions League triumph for over half a decade
Messi playing catch up
So, to the fans’ credit, they’ve gotten things pretty spot on – give or take claims of a hat-trick against Bayern Munich – and it goes to show that Messi is trailing behind Ronaldo in the competition.
However, it’s worth noting that Ronaldo’s fortunes in the Champions League took a turn for the worst after his 33rd year and the massive career decision to swap Real Madrid for Juventus.
As such, while Messi might be playing catch up as things stand, the Barca star can at least reassure himself that he has three years in the can to exact revenge on his eternal rival. Bring it on.