Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will renew their rivalry this season after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn together in the Champions League. 

The two players that have dominated world football for over a decade are set to go head to head twice more, their teams having been placed in Group G alongside Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros. 

The rivalry between Messi and former Real Madrid star Ronaldo – who have won a combined 11 Ballons d'Or – is firmly rooted in LaLiga and they have met 35 times in all competitions. 

Messi holds the upper hand in their head-to-head record, winning 16 times and scoring 22 goals compared to Ronaldo's tallies of 10 victories and 19 strikes. 

However, Ronaldo has lifted the Champions League trophy five times, compared to Messi's four, and his haul of 130 goals in the competition is 15 more than his Argentine counterpart. 

Ahead of the pair battling it out on the grandest stage, take a look back at their five previous European meetings.


Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United (2007-08 semi-final first leg)

Messi and Ronaldo were already established among the leading talents in world football when they first met in the Champions League in April 2008. Things did not get off to a great start for Ronaldo, who missed the chance to score a valuable away goal when he fired wide from the penalty spot in the third minute following a handball by Gabriel Milito. Barca dominated possession with Messi at the heart of their best moves before being replaced by Bojan in the 62nd minute, but the game ended goalless.

Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona (2007-08 semi-final second leg)

Messi continued to cause problems for United in the second leg and nearly won an early penalty when his marauding run was halted by Paul Scholes, though the referee correctly awarded a free-kick. Scholes put Alex Ferguson's side in front with a stunning 25-yard effort that beat Victor Valdes, and the brilliant Messi was unable to find an equaliser. United progressed to the Moscow showpiece and Ronaldo got his hands on the trophy for the first time after a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea.

Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United (2008-09 final)

United were one game away from becoming the first team in the modern era to successfully defend the Champions League title, but Barca proved too good for them at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Samuel Eto'o found a way past Edwin van der Sar to put Pep Guardiola's men in front and Messi helped keep them on top with another mesmerising display. His fine showing was rewarded when he looped a rare header beyond Van der Sar, securing the first treble in Barca's history.

Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona (2010-11 semi-final first leg)

In a heated match at the Santiago Bernabeu, Messi punished Madrid after they were reduced to 10 men when Pepe saw red in the 61st minute – Jose Mourinho was removed from the dugout for his remonstrations too. After turning home a cross from Ibrahim Afellay, Messi scored a stunning solo goal that will undoubtedly go down as one of the best of his career. He exchanged passes with Sergio Busquets before dribbling past Lassana Diarra, Raul Albiol and Marcelo to slot beyond Iker Casillas for his 11th goal in 11 matches in that season's Champions League.

Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (2010-11 semi-final second leg)

Madrid needed a memorable comeback at Camp Nou to reach the final and looked to be well in the tie when Gonzalo Higuain got the better of Valdes, only for the referee to chalk off the goal for a foul by Ronaldo on Javier Mascherano in the build-up. In a matter of minutes they were behind, as Pedro latched onto Andres Iniesta's wonderful pass in the 54th minute. Marcelo gave Madrid hope after the hour, but they were unable to stop Barca reaching a third Champions League final in six seasons.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will do battle in the 2020/21 Champions League after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same group.

LaLiga giants Barca and Serie A champions Juve were paired together in Group G, along with Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros. 

Messi and Ronaldo have played against each other five times in the Champions League, the former on the winning side twice and as many matches ending in a draw.  While Ronaldo has managed a solitary win, he has failed to score in their previous meetings.

Bayern Munich, who defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to be crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time in Lisbon in August, will come up against Atletico Madrid in Group A.

PSG were drawn with Manchester United, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir in what looks a tough Group H, while Liverpool - winners of the competition in 2019 - will lock horns with Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland in Group D. 

Real Madrid are in Group B with Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach, while Europa League holders Sevilla have Chelsea for company in Group E, along with Krasnodar and Rennes. 

Group C comprises of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, Porto, Olympiacos and Marseille, while Zenit, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio are joined by Club Brugge in Group F. 

The final will be staged at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on May 29, 2021.

Champions League group stage draw:

Group A: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow 
Group B: Real Madrid,  Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter, Borussia Monchengladbach 
Group C: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiacos, Marseille 
Group D: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland 
Group E: Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes 
Group F: Zenit, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge 
Group G: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev, Ferencvaros 
Group H: Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will do battle in the 2020/21 Champions League after Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same group.

Gareth Bale can rediscover his best form after leaving Real Madrid for Tottenham, according to his Wales coach Ryan Giggs.

The 31-year-old completed a return to Tottenham last month on an initial season-long loan, seven years after swapping the two clubs for a world-record fee at the time.

He won 13 trophies during his time in the Spanish capital but struggled for appearances over the past two seasons following a breakdown in relations with Zinedine Zidane and a lack of fitness.

However, Giggs is hopeful that Bale - who has been left out of Wales' latest squad as he works his way back from a knee injury - will benefit from a return "home".

"He will play more regularly than he did at Madrid," said Giggs ahead of next week's England friendly and the subsequent Nations League double-header with Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.

"I think it's a good move for Gareth, it's good for Spurs and good for the Premier League in general, to have someone like that who we can watch every week.

"He's at a club he knows well with a very good manager and I think he's said himself it's like going back home."

The versatile forward started training with Tottenham this week for the first time since heading back to north London, having sustained a knee injury while on international duty a month ago.

He will be a key part of Wales' squad for next year's rearranged Euro 2020 and Giggs believes his side will only benefit from having a fully fit Bale in their ranks.

"It will be so much better if he is playing regularly. He will be sharper, will be able to play those two games in a short space of time," said Giggs.

"He's been able to manage it and produce performances because he looks after himself, because of his quality and the experience he's got. But it will be so much better when he is playing regularly."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is unsure how long Eden Hazard will be sidelined, but said the attacker was "upset" after another injury setback.

Hazard, 29, is enduring a torrid run in Madrid, and is yet to make an appearance this season.

The Belgium international was ready to return from an ankle problem, but suffered a muscle injury that saw him miss Wednesday's 1-0 LaLiga victory over Real Valladolid.

Zidane is unsure how long Hazard, signed for a reported €100million from Chelsea last year, will be unavailable.

"I can't tell you how long it'll be. He picked up a bit of a knock in training before the game," he told a news conference.

"It looked like a muscle spasm but in the end it turned out to be a bit more than that. It's something muscular. It's nothing to do with the injury he's had and these things happen.

"He's been out for a long time. I don't think this one will be long but I can't tell you exactly."

Hazard has struggled to impress since arriving at Madrid, where he scored one goal and provided three assists in 16 LaLiga appearances last season.

Zidane said the former Lille star was disappointed after his latest injury.

"He's upset because he was all right. We talked about it at the press conference before the match, but he's had a setback and these things can happen," he said.

"He's not happy, he knows that it's not a big thing and we have to take it easy with him. It's a question of little time, I'm sure."

After earning seven points from their opening three LaLiga games, Madrid visit Levante on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane says "anything can happen" with Luka Jovic ahead of the transfer deadline after he struggled in Real Madrid's win over Real Valladolid.

Jovic has been consistently linked with a loan departure in the current window, having netted just twice for Madrid in all competitions since signing last year.

Manchester United have been mentioned as potential suitors this week, yet the Serbia striker was in Zidane's XI for a second consecutive match.

Jovic had three shots in total but could not find the net, missing the target with his first two before the break when he looked set to score from the start for the first time in his Madrid career.

With the deadline now just days away, Zidane appeared open to either keeping or loaning the forward.

"I can't confirm anything until October 5," the coach said of Jovic. "He is a player in the squad. I decide and that's it.

"I'm not going to say anything about what's going to happen. Anything cran happen. He's here and he played today."

Zidane introduced Vinicius Junior in place of Jovic and the Brazil winger netted the winner in a 1-0 success.

But Madrid and their coach were also grateful to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a string of good stops.

"He saved us last week and today too," Zidane said. "That's what Thibaut is for."

Courtois added to Movistar+: "We knew it was a difficult game against a team that drew with us last year.

"We had chances in the first half and they did not create danger. In the second, I had to make good saves but then we finished the game.

"What counts are the three points. We have to keep improving."

Vinicius Junior felt his introduction alongside Marco Asensio turned Real Madrid's LaLiga meeting with Real Valladolid in the champions' favour.

Brazilian Vinicius grabbed the only goal in Wednesday's 1-0 win after arriving from the bench in the 58th minute.

Madrid had dominated up to that stage, but Luka Jovic – the man Vinicius replaced – missed two big chances and had a third well saved by Roberto.

With Jovic continuing to toil amid reports of interest from Manchester United, Zinedine Zidane turned to his bench and made a triple change, with Dani Carvajal joining Vinicius and Asensio.

Although the pattern of the game did not vastly change, Vinicius found the net and later hailed Zidane's substitutions.

"We are all happy with the game," the 20-year-old said. "The first half was more complicated, but Zidane changed the system in the second.

"He brought Asensio and I on and we were able to change the game."

It was a second straight win for Madrid, although they were similarly made to work hard in a 3-2 success at Real Betis.

"It was a different game from Betis," Vinicius said. "[Valladolid] put a lot of people behind the ball, but the important thing is that we won both games."

Jovic's struggles were further evidence of a slow start for Madrid's attack this season, having drawn 0-0 at Real Sociedad in their LaLiga opener.

But Vinicius is encouraged by the way the team's defence is performing to keep their misfiring team-mates in matches.

"It's the beginning of the season – we haven't play friendlies and we had little time to train," he said.

"We know that if we do not concede, we have many options in attack. We continue working with Zidane to improve up front. The system depends on the players and each opponent."

Vinicius Junior came to Real Madrid's rescue as a sluggish start to their LaLiga season continued with a 1-0 home win over Real Valladolid on Wednesday.

Madrid were held to a goalless draw at Real Sociedad in their opener and then required a late Sergio Ramos penalty to beat Real Betis on Saturday, and a lack of cutting edge threatened to prove costly on their return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Luka Jovic – a reported Manchester United target – was particularly guilty, missing two golden chances before the break.

Jovic’s frustration was compounded in the second half – his replacement Vinicius on hand to snatch a precious winner to send Madrid level with leaders Getafe.

The frustrating tone was set early as Roberto made an instinctive stop to keep Madrid at bay in the 10th minute, springing to his right to turn Federico Valverde's cushioned volley around the post.

Jovic helped craft that chance, but the former Eintracht Frankfurt man soon squandered a huge opportunity of his own as he inexplicably missed the target when found in front of goal by Valverde.

He was wasteful again 10 minutes before half-time, lashing past the left-hand post following a smart Luka Modric touch.

The Serbia forward saw a header saved by Roberto after the restart, with Casemiro slamming the rebound against the crossbar, with a subsequent chance for Shon Weissman – who was denied by Thibaut Courtois – provoking Zinedine Zidane into a triple-change.

Jovic was among those to make way and the move prompted the opener, with Vinicius profiting on a deflection in the area to finish coolly.

Courtois had to be alert to parry away a wayward Raul Garcia cross, yet Madrid might have added to their lead in the closing stages as Modric exposed Roberto's poor positioning but struck the base of the upright.

What does it mean? Madrid doing just enough

Madrid played some good football in the closing stages of last season as they clinched the title, but they are just getting by in the opening weeks of the new campaign. They were comfortable in terms of possession, enjoying 63 per cent, while they had five shots on target, yet Zidane will hope more straightforward victories are to follow.

Courtois kept busy

The chances that fell Jovic's way could have seen Madrid home and dry by half-time, but with his outfield team-mates wasteful, Courtois had to step up. The Belgium goalkeeper pulled off five saves in all, with each of them coming at crucial ventures, most notably a fine stop from Weissman at 0-0. 

Luka's luck not turning

Jovic may eventually get a second chance at Madrid if he returns from an expected loan move away, but this performance summed up his spell at Los Blanco so far. The 22-year-old has scored just twice in all competitions for Madrid but had three chances to improve that tally here. Only one of his trio of efforts hit the target and he was replaced after 58 minutes. 

What's next?

Madrid are in LaLiga action again on Sunday at Levante, while Valladolid host Eibar a day earlier.

Eden Hazard has suffered a fresh injury blow, with Real Madrid confirming he has sustained a muscle injury in his right leg.

The Belgium forward has yet to feature for Los Blancos this season having endured an injury-hit debut 2019-20 campaign.

Hazard's big-money arrival from Chelsea was met with much fanfare but the start of his campaign was held up by a hamstring complaint and he sustained a fractured foot in a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain in November having started to show flashes of his best form.

A broken ankle he suffered in February not long after returning from that setback further derailed Hazard's progress and there were suggestions this month he returned to pre-season overweight.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane defended Hazard against suggestions he lacked professionalism and included him in the squad for Wednesday's LaLiga clash with Real Valladolid.

But Madrid confirmed the new issue in a statement on the club's website and, although they did not put a timescale on his return, reports suggest he could be absent for another three to four weeks.

"Following tests carried out today on our player, Eden Hazard, by Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in his right leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed," Madrid's statement read.

The LaLiga champions have taken four points from their opening two matches of the campaign.

Ousmane Dembele has been linked with a move to Manchester United before the transfer window closes.

Dembele is seen as an alternative to Jadon Sancho, who remains at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

But Dembele is reportedly against leaving Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE NOT INTERESTED IN UNITED

Ousmane Dembele does not want to leave Barcelona amid interest from Manchester United, claims Sky Deutschland via Inside Futbol.

Dembele has emerged as an option for United, who have failed to prise number one transfer target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

As Dortmund refuse to lower their demands, United reportedly want Dembele on loan, however the France international is happy at Camp Nou.

 

ROUND-UP

United are also eyeing former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Real Madrid's Luka Jovic, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Desperate to reinforce their squad, United are set to attempt to sign free agent Cavani or Jovic on loan. Jovic has also been linked to Roma, Milan and Inter.

- Fabrizio Romano says Tottenham remain in talks with Inter for Milan Skriniar. Spurs are determined to sign the centre-back, though Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger – also linked to PSG – is an alternative.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is interested in joining Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, reports Sky Germany. The Chelsea winger has previously been linked with Bayern, and he has struggled to cement his position in London.

Lucas Torreira's agent is set for transfer talks with Atletico Madrid as the Arsenal midfielder looks to leave London, reports Romano. It comes as Gunners full-back Sead Kolasinac nears a switch to Bayer Leverkusen.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane addressed speculation over Luka Jovic's future amid links to Manchester United and clubs in Serie A.

Jovic has struggled for game time since his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt in June last year, with form, fitness and Zidane's preference to play Karim Benzema up front hindering the Serbia international.

United have emerged as a loan option for Jovic, while Roma, Milan and Inter have also been linked with temporary moves for the 22-year-old.

Asked about Jovic – who was handed a rare start alongside Benzema in the 3-2 win over Real Betis last week – on the eve of Madrid's LaLiga clash against Real Valladolid, Zidane told reporters: "You have to take everything into account.

"Until the fifth [of October], the market is open. We will see.

"The players are fine and that's what interests me."

Jovic endured a turbulent first season with Madrid in 2019-20 following his big-money arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht, managing just two goals in 25 appearances.

The former Red Star Belgrade and Benfica forward was prised from Germany after scoring 27 goals in 2018-19 as Eintracht reached the Europa League semi-final.

Madrid have four points from two games to sit seventh in LaLiga, three points behind leaders Getafe – who have played three matches.

Eden Hazard is "very close" to a return to full fitness as Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refuted suggestions the forward lacked professionalism. 

The Belgium star has struggled to find his rhythm in Spain following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea in June last year.

He managed a solitary goal in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu as he battled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

Zidane hinted that Hazard is primed for action for the first time this season, though stopped short of confirming his spot in the team for Wednesday's clash with Real Valladolid.

"I think he's very close to a return," said Zidane. "He is prepared and training well with the team.

"The issue is that he hasn't been able to train much until now, but now he is back training regularly. So, we'll see what happens.

"What he wants is to play. He had a big problem that caused him issues for a long time, but now it seems like he is fine.

"The season is very long and he is a professional. He does not lack professionalism. What he wants is to be with his team-mates and to play."

Asked if he was looking to add to his squad in what remains of the transfer window, Zidane pointed out the difficulties he already faces in picking the LaLiga champions' strongest XI.

Vinicius Junior is one player who is having to contend with being on the periphery, although Zidane insists he is content with the winger.

"I'm very happy with the squad that I have," he said. "Adding more players would not be ideal.

"I'm already struggling to choose between the players that I have. I have the best squad.

"I'm very happy with Vinicius. He wants to play like every player, I pick my starting line-up every match, and of course I count on Vinicius, he is a great player."

Zidane's side responded to their opening-game draw with Real Sociedad by winning 3-2 at Real Betis last time out. 

Borussia Dortmund are reportedly maintaining a firm stance over Jadon Sancho, while Barcelona still want Memphis Depay.

The Sancho transfer saga continues to dominate talk as Manchester United chase the Dortmund star.

But the Bundesliga club are seemingly unmoved.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND ADAMANT SANCHO WILL STAY

Dortmund are adamant Sancho will not be sold this transfer window, according to Sky Sports.

United have continued to be linked with the England international, who scored 17 goals and provided 16 assists in 32 Bundesliga games last season.

However, Dortmund's asking price of £108million (€120m) has reportedly proven to be a stumbling block.

 

ROUND-UP

- Late in the transfer window, there may still be movement at Barcelona. Sport reports Ronald Koeman still wants Lyon star Depay. It also says Ajax full-back Sergino Dest is close to signing, while Porto are trying to loan midfielder Riqui Puig. Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo says Barca will make a new offer for Eric Garcia after Manchester City signed Benfica defender Ruben Dias.

- Amid uncertainty over Luka Jovic's future at Real Madrid, AS reports LaLiga's champions want the forward to make a loan move. Jovic struggled in his first season at Madrid in 2019-20.

- There could be more movement at Chelsea. Fabrizio Romano says the Premier League club are still looking at West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as their main target, but will first try to sell players.

- Antonio Rudiger could be among the exits at Chelsea. Sky Sports reports Tottenham are interested in signing the defender.

- Talk about Rhian Brewster's Liverpool future continues. The Sun says Sheffield United are offering £17m for the forward and are prepared to agree to a buy-back clause of around £40m. The Blades have failed to score in their first three Premier League games and are second bottom.

- Lyon are reportedly chasing Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 club offered to take the 23-year-old on a one-year loan with an €18m purchase option, a deal which was rejected. However, it reports Lyon will return with an improved offer.

Real Madrid have confirmed Toni Kroos suffered a muscle injury in the 3-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis on Saturday. 

The Germany international had to be substituted in first-half stoppage time in Seville, Luka Modric coming on to replace his fellow midfielder. 

Following tests on Monday, Madrid announced Kroos has an issue in the gluteal region, though did not reveal how long the 30-year-old will be sidelined. 

“Following tests carried out today on our player, Toni Kroos, by the Real Madrid medical services, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to the left gluteus medius," a statement from the club read.  

"His recovery will continue to be assessed." 

Zinedine Zidane's squad are next in action on Wednesday, hosting Real Valladolid, while the reigning champions travel to Levante at the weekend. 

Kroos could also be a doubt for a trio of upcoming international fixtures. Germany play Turkey in a friendly on October 7, followed by Nations League games against Ukraine and Switzerland during the break. 

 

Sergio Ramos defended referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea and the officials after Real Madrid beat Real Betis 3-2 through a contentious late penalty.

Ramos gave Madrid all three points from the spot in the 82nd minute, Marc Bartra adjudged to have handled in the area following a VAR review.

It did appear as though Bartra may have been pushed into the ball by Borja Mayoral, with Betis unfortunate to suffer their first defeat after two successive wins under Manuel Pellegrini.

Earlier Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho had turned the game in Betis' favour following Federico Valverde's opener but Emerson conceded an own goal three minutes after the second-half restart and was then sent off before the game's controversial finish.

"I can't comment on specific incidents," Ramos said to Madrid's official website.

"From what we've been told it was a clear penalty, but there's nothing that can be done about it now.

"Sometimes they help us and sometimes they go against us, but that's football. The referee is there to do the best he possibly can and I don't think it's ever intentional."

Madrid have four points from two games, with their victory at the Benito Villamarin following a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad.

Ramos added: "We were very good for the first 15 minutes. We dominated the game up until the first goal, which gave us confidence but in the end, we had to dig in.

"If you keep giving the ball to quality teams who like to have possession, they will create chances and you run the risk of them scoring goals.

"The most important thing was our mentality and the team came out hungry to come back, which is exactly what we did. We managed to level it up quickly to get right back in the game.
 
"It serves as a lesson for us. We're not going to come from behind in every game. The other day we played really well but just lacked a bit of an edge. 

"We created a lot of chances today and it was a fantastic second half, we were dominant and it's clinched us the three points which will do us the world of good."

 

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