Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


Defending champ FC Barcelona got a first-half goal from reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and beat Shakhtar Donetsk, 1-0, to complete its dismantling of the Ukrainian side by a 6-1 aggregate in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, one day after Real Madrid defeated Tottenham Hotspur, 1-0, and took its two-legged set by an overall 5-0.  The bitter Spanish rivals will meet in the semifinals on April 27 and May 3 while Manchester United will take on German upstart Schalke 04 on April 26 and May 4.  The two survivors meet in the final May 28 at London’s Wembley Stadium.  [April 13]

Comment:  This showdown of bitter Spanish rivals is being billed in some quarters as a showdown between the man currently regarded as the world’s greatest player, Messi, and the man he supposedly supplanted, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

It should be fascinating–over an 18-day span, the two sides will meet not only in the Champions League but once each in La Liga and Spain’s Copa del Rey.  But as for proving who’s best, that’s a reach.  The styles and roles of the stumpy, electrifying 23-year-old Argentine and the flamboyant, mercurial 26-year-old Portuguese are too different to allow for comparison.  And they will have little to do with one another on the field:  this isn’t the 1970 World Cup, when West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and England’s Bobby Charlton marked one another and ultimately cancelled each other out.  The only certainty is that if both players play up to their capabilities, the debate will rage on.

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This isn’t a beuty contest. Messi is NUMBER 1.

Comment by Sneaky Peter

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