Thursday, September 3,2020
No one really believes that Lionel Messi will end up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.
But if it did happen, what would it be like?
Let’s suspend reality for a while and imagine that after their great LaLiga Santander rivalry, the two great icons of this century share a dressing room.
One of the greatest all-time link-ups
Bird and Magic. Karpov and Kasparov. Nadal and Federer.
Sport has seen some wonderful rivalries, and football is no different with the Messi and Cristiano duopoly.
Seeing them link up at Juventus would surely delight all football fans.
But could supporters of Messi really cheer for Cristiano, and vice-versa?
Could Real Madrid and Barcelona fans see themselves actively performing the celebrations of their once sworn rival figure?
Nobody would miss a Juve game
All eyes would be on Turin.
Who would want to miss a game where Messi and Cristiano are teaming up in attack?
Everyone would sign up to the broadcaster showing the games, and shirts would fly off the shelves.
A message to the doubters
Messi hasn’t won a Champions League title since 2015. And Cristiano hasn’t gone past the quarter-finals since leaving Real Madrid.
At 33 and 35 years old respectively, their hold on the game has never been questioned as much as it is now.
So, them joining up would be a message of defiance to their pretenders, such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland.
By coming together, they would make themselves stronger.
A golden Juventus
If Messi moved, the Old Lady would suddenly have within it 11 Ballon d’Or awards, 10 European Golden Boots, nine Champions League titles and more than 1200 goals.
They would be the favourite to win every title under the sun. Except maybe the Tour de France and the World Baseball Series…
Juve could avenge their European losses
The two Champions League finals that Juventus lost in the last decade were against Messi‘s Barcelona in 2015, and against Cristiano‘s Real Madrid in 2017.
By bringing them to Turin, they would be removing the obstacles that have kept them from winning the Champions League since 1996.
Messi and Cristiano themselves have only ever lost one Champions League final between them – the one where they went head-to-head as Barcelona beat Manchester United in 2009.
Who would be on penalties?
A perfect marriage only exists in films.
With Cristiano scoring 14 penalties last term, would he be happy to give up such a profitable source of goals?
There would probably be more similar questions besides, such as the team’s shape.
It would seem ideal for Messi to be Cristiano‘s provider, given the Argentine’s unselfish, creative persona.
But will either be willing not to be the team’s figurehead?
All these questions would be for Andrea Pirlo to answer.
He would without doubt be the most privileged coach in the history of the game, and the only one to say he managed both these two totems.
He could be what Zinedine Zidane was to Cristiano, and what Pep Guardiola was to Messi.
Such pressure in his first season in the club would be extraordinary, and not what he could’ve imagined when he became coach of the club’s reserve side.
But luckily – or unluckily – for him, it surely won’t come to pass.