Cristiano Ronaldo offered his verdict on Lionel Messi and Barcelona after scoring twice in Juventus’s 3-0 win at the Camp Nou on Tuesday in the Champions League.
The Portugal international struck the opener from the penalty spot after going down under pressure from Ronald Araujo. Weston McKennie scored the visitors’ second before Ronaldo netted a second penalty after a Clement Lenglet handball.
Ronaldo was back at the Camp Nou for the first time since leaving Barcelona’s bitter rivals Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018. The 35-year-old spoke to Movistar after the match about the win and his relationship with Messi.
We have been together for 12 or 13 years in the awards ceremonies and I never saw him as a rival, that’s a matter for the press. I have always gotten along well with him, and if you ask him, he will tell you the same thing.
I see him as always, it is true that Barça is going through a difficult time , but surely they will overcome this bad moment because they are still an excellent team.
We knew it was an almost impossible mission. This victory is going to be an injection of confidence for us, we needed a victory like this against a big team.
The forward missed the reverse fixture in Turin which Barcelona won 2-0 after testing positive for Covid-19. His goals against the Catalan giants mean Juve progress to the knockout stages as group winners, while Barcelona must settle for the runners-up spot.
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Ronaldo ‘Motivated’ Against Messi
Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo insisted after the match that Ronaldo had been especially fired up ahead of the game because he was coming up against Messi, as reported by Football Italia.
Ronaldo was very motivated to put in a good performance here against his eternal rival, so when you’re that motivated, it becomes simple. There are many games in a season and it’s easier to get fired up for fixtures like this, but we mustn’t lose sight of the real target, which is Serie A, so we have to be this concentrated and committed there too.
The two players have dominated world soccer for the last decade, and the comparisons continued during Tuesday’s match.
Messi and Ronaldo have now come up against each other 36 times in all competitions during their careers. The Barcelona captain has notched 16 wins during those games, while Ronaldo now has 11 victories, according to ESPN.
Koeman Blasts Barcelona’s Poor Start
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman made his feelings about his team’s performance clear after the match. The Dutchman criticized his team for their poor start after seeing Juve score twice in the opening 20 minutes, as reported by UEFA.
I didn’t like how we began this match, without aggression, looking as if we were playing not to lose rather than to win. We never had the match under control, we were poor defensively. We effectively lost the match in the first half an hour.
I always try to prepare the team specifically for how I want them to go out and start the match. But we left far too many spaces all over the pitch. Tonight we haven’t been at our level and Juve were much more convincing.
Koeman must now lift his players quickly for Sunday’s visit of Levante. Barca have now lost two games in a row and will be desperate to avoid another defeat at the Camp Nou that will only increase the growing criticism of the coach and his players.