Neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will be featuring in the UEFA Champions League’s Quarterfinals this year. This is the first time in all of 16 years (since 2004-05) that the last eight of the competition will not experience Messi and Ronaldo’s genius that we have become quite used to.
Messi and Ronaldo Out of UCL Quarters
On Tuesday, Juventus and Ronaldo were booted out of the competition by Porto, in quite stunning fashion, the Portuguese team surviving a comeback after a thrilling extra-time second leg battle in Turin.
As for Messi and Barcelona, their defeat came at the hands of the boys from Paris, who played out a 1-1 draw with the Blaugrana to complete a 5-2 aggregate victory. Quite comprehensive.
There was yet more misery for Barcelona as they saw a long streak of reaching the Champions League’s quarterfinals come to an end.
The Catalan giants failed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2006-07 when Liverpool knocked them out.
The Blaugrana were on a run of 13 consecutive quarter-final appearances, the longest such streak in the competition’s history.
This is now widely speculated as the end of an era of European dominance for both players, with Messi and Ronaldo now 33 and 36 years old, respectively.
To sort of confirm this speculation, we are now witnessing the emergence of two really supreme talents in Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, who have already begun to break existing records and set new ones.
Mbappe scored four goals over two legs against Barcelona, breaking Messi’s record of the youngest player to 25 Champions League goals.
Erling Haaland also scored 4 goals against Sevilla in the last 16, becoming the youngest player to hit 20 UCL goals at the age of 20.
Could this actually be the end for Messi and Ronaldo in Europe?