The hunt for a Champions League title continues for both Barcelona and Juventus as they were knocked out in the Round of 16. Juventus was knocked out by FC Porto in an enthralling match where the latter won on away goals. Whereas Barcelona could not repeat their famous “Remontada” against the victims, as they were dumped out by PSG with an aggregate scoreline of 5-2.
The exit of two of the world’s famous clubs was disappointing. But there was another thing that was much more heartbreaking. It is the first time since 2005 that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi will be playing in the quarter-finals. This might be the signs of our favorite legends time coming to an end which we were all hoping never to happen.
Juventus had a better opportunity compared to Barcelona. They lost the first-leg, but only a goal separating them and having Ronaldo on the team, a comeback was expected. But they failed to win as a determined Porto team defied all odds despite going down to 10-men.
Barcelona was hit by the Kyllian Mbappe storm in the first-leg which made it pretty impossible for a comeback. But they had made the historic comeback against PSG in 2017, so all hope was not lost. They could have done what they did then, but missing open chances cost them dearly.
Juventus and Barcelona – a shadow of their former selves
Although Juventus has never won the trophy post-2000, they had a star-studded team with the urge to win. In the last 6 years, they have reached the finals on 2 occasions. In the bid to somehow get hands on the Champions League trophy, they bought the Champions League Specialist to Italy.
Fair to say even that has backfired. Ronaldo has been breaking individual records here. But the fact that those contributions aren’t helping his team progress is troubling. This is his third season with The Old Lady and on all three occasions, Juventus has been knocked out by unexpected teams. They lost against Ajax in 2018-19, against Lyon in 2019-20, and now against Porto.
Porto put up a fighting display and they clearly deserved the win. Although they lost 3-2, the away goal advantage helped them on aggregate. Pepe was their star man. The 38-year-old was defying his age and made a record 18 clearances. Juventus almost won it in extra time but Porto spoiled the party with a late goal.
PSG scored 4 on an away ground which already gave them the upper hand. There was optimism regarding a comeback, but it wasn’t the old Barcelona team, neither was PSG.
The Ligue 1 champions held Barcelona in the second-leg with a 1 – 1 draw. Messi scored a breathtaking goal but missed a penalty alongside. The Spanish side had a lot of chance in their favor but their incapability to finish cost them dearly. Keylor Navas was the Star of the Match who made many brilliant saves.
What now for the G.O.A.T’s?
We all know the day is coming when these 2 will be retiring. It will be a tough one to take given the fact they ruled together for 15 years. Cristiano has 2 years left on his contract but his future at Juventus looks insecure after another Champions League exit. Mission Ronaldo has been a failure for them and they will be looking to offload him rather than waste a huge amount of money for his salary.
Lionel Messi has been carrying Barcelona for a long time. He was rumored to leave last summer but didn’t. He hasn’t renewed his contract yet and might be leaving his long-time club on a free transfer.
If that is the case, he is tipped to join either PSG or Manchester City with David Beckham’s Inter Miami surprisingly interested. Ronaldo has also been rumored with a move to PSG and Manchester United.
If any of the above happens, we can prepare ourselves for another derby, because Messi to City will definitely tease Ronaldo for the Old Trafford return, or our lifelong dream of them playing in the same team.
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