After an unearthly transfer window this summer, with almost every A-list player moving from club to club in what appears to be a game of musical chairs in Europe, we have to get used to seeing Lionel Messi in the navy Paris Saint-Germain jersey and Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United Red.
Messi and Ronaldo, arguably two of the greatest football players of all time and certainly of this generation, will start the Champions League campaigns of their respective new (or in Ronaldo’s case “old”) clubs in Europe this week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Although it seems almost unbelievable that Messi and Ronaldo have moved to new fields this season, FootTheBall analyzes her moves and examines the question of her legacy in the beautiful game.
MESSI STARTS NEW CHAPTER WITH PARIS AS THE PARIS AIMING UCL TITLE
A little over a year ago, Messi was part of the Barcelona team that suffered a humiliating 8-2 loss to German giants Bayern Munich in Lisbon.
⏪ Remember when Barcelona loaned Philippe Coutinho, their £ 142million new signing, to Bayern Munich …
🥴 And he scored twice from the bench in an 8-2 defeat in the Champions League against her … pic.twitter.com/N2lmXxP3ng
– WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) 4th August 2021
Fast forward to today and the Catalan club seems to have changed radically in both the recruiting of players and staff and the election of a new president.
Messi and Suarez led the line for Barcelona at the Estadio da Luz that fateful night, but this time when Barcelona faced Bayern Munich in the Group E opening match, Memphis Depay and either (or both) Philippe Coutinho and Luuk de Jong will form offensive duo / trio.
Quique Setien, who hasn’t headed a club since his sack, won’t be helplessly wandering through tech trying to save the game.
Instead of the Spaniard, Ronald Koeman will watch from the dugout. And Joan Laporta will likely watch in place of his disgraced predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu from the presidential box at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi, meanwhile, will visit the Belgian club Brugge with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe The Parisians Start a new chapter in the club’s history with a firm eye on first place in Group A when the final whistle of the group stage sounds in Paris in December this year and finally the big-eared trophy in St. Petersburg.
The Argentine’s move is based on giving one more chance to win the Champions League – a title that he and Barcleona have missed since defeating Juventus in Berlin in 2015 – and his cause is being pushed by his teammates (Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Kylian.) Shared Mbappe).
PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and the alleged “high command” in Qatar absolutely want to achieve the highest honor in Europe and be counted one time to the European royal family.
Trophies in France, it seems, will inevitably fall into the lap of Paris Saint-Germain given the quality of the opponents they face this season in the French Republic and therefore not a huge challenge for them The Parisians.
The real test will be on the European stage when Paris Saint-Germain meets teams like other title favorites Manchester City and the surprise package RB Leipzig in the group stage before it goes into the knockout phase.
The coup that brought in Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos is seen as the driving force that would lead them to glory in Russia next year.
But don’t forget that the French don’t have particularly good memories of Russia. Napoleon was considered his own by the Russians at the end of the Napoleonic Wars Great army fell apart like a broken toy after running out of supplies on the way to Moscow.
Similarly, PSG’s possible path from Paris to St. Petersburg (Russia’s capital when Napoleon invaded with the Grand Army) will be full of trials and tribulations before having a chance to see successes in Russia’s cultural capital.
RONALDO ON A MISSION IN MANCHESTER AFTER RETURNING TO THE RED DEVILS
In a transfer window when Messi moved to Paris Saint-Germain, Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Manchester United after 12 years at Real Madrid and Juventus and apparently has a mission in mind: to restore United to their former glory.
Ronaldo’s arrival has already put Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table with 10 points out of a possible 12.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 12, 2021
United looks like a title contender in the Premier League but what will happen in the Champions League is interesting to see given the way they were moved to the Europa League last season. David de Gea in particular will not be too happy to play against Villarreal in the group stage this season of the Champions League.
The task ahead of Ronaldo seems to be more difficult than the one that PSG has faced. United have a talented group of players but they cannot come up with the high-profile offensive line-up that PSG can draw on.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 14, 2021
Still, belief in the Theater of Dreams has been rekindled after Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League. According to reports, Paul Pogba is finally considering extending his contract after Ronaldo’s arrival at Old Trafford appears to have convinced him of the project being carried out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his company in Cottonopolis.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 12, 2021
If Ronaldo leads them to their first league triumph since Sir Alex Fergson’s resignation in 2013, then this is a fitting farewell to the football stage for the Portuguese. But success in the Champions League seems to be more difficult.
Manchester United have only managed to make it to the quarter-finals of Europe’s first club competition in the last decade, but this time around there is real excitement among Old Trafford believers to make it deep into the business end of the tournament.
And if Ronaldo can inspire her to a Champions League triumph in Russia next May (he won with Manchester United in Moscow in 2008), then he would truly leave the Red Devils as a legend in the truest sense of the word.