The Lionel Messi – Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry will be reignited even if just for one night when Barcelona take on Juventus at the Camp Nou tonight.
It is a much-awaited reunion between two of the greatest players of this generation and it will be a treat for fans and neutrals alike.
Barcelona and Juventus will be battling for the top spot in the group. The Catalans only need to avoid too heavy a defeat to see their supremacy in Group G remain intact. Barcelona had registered a 2-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in the reverse fixture and
Ronald Koeman will be hoping that his side can replicate that form at home.
However, it won’t be easy as they’re going up against a Juventus side that seems to be slowly steadying itself. Without further ado, let’s take a look at five reasons why Barcelona are set to struggle against Juventus.
#5 Andrea Pirlo says Juventus have nothing to lose
Speaking to the press ahead of their game against Barcelona, Andrea Pirlo has affirmed that his side is going to play openly and that they have nothing to lose.
Pirlo admits that it’s going to be a tough game and that they will suffer in parts but it sounds a lot like Juventus are going to take a no-holds-barred approach at the Camp Nou.
“Yes, we have to believe it. It will be a difficult match and in part, we must suffer. We know we will get opportunities and must exploit them.
we have nothing to lose. Knowing the mistakes in the first leg, but also the good things we have done. We are calm and convinced that anything can happen.”
Barcelona have struggled against quality opposition this season so far and if Juventus do play like they have nothing to lose,
they can expect to take something away from the game.
#4 Barcelona’s injury woes
The injuries keep mounting for Barcelona and Ronald Koeman has every reason to be worried as his side looks to stamp their superiority in
Group G. Barcelona are without several key players.
Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and
now Ousmane Dembele are all sidelined and the last thing Ronald Koeman would want is another injury. Samuel Umtiti remains a doubt for this one as well.
Sure, Ronald Koeman will field his strongest side but he will not push it if he believes he is risking another one of his top players.
#3 Juventus are in good form
Andrea Pirlo’s men have looked good of late. There has been a lot of concern over the fact that they have continuously looked a bit exposed in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Going by how well the Portuguese has been performing this year, you can’t deny that the Bianconeri are reliant on him.
Whatever that might be, Juventus have won four of their last five games and are on a good run.
They have been able to squeeze out much-needed points of late and will be looking to do more of the same against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
Despite Barcelona’s excellent Champions League record so far this term,
they have been very inconsistent in the La Liga and Juventus will be looking to take advantage of it.
2 Barcelona are rattled after the defeat against Cadiz
It’s safe to say that Barcelona are still recovering from the internal combustion that has happened at the club. Whenever they have started to look like they’re about to find their feet or hit their stride,
they have been dealt a setback and this weekend defeat at the hands of newly promoted Cadiz was in keeping with this narrative.
Barcelona have been awful domestically and are currently 12 points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid. Ousmane Dembele picking up an injury hasn’t helped either and now Koeman will be hoping that Lionel Messi,
Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho all remain fit as the squad is already thin.
Several times this season, Barcelona have looked bereft of ideas and not being able to win against Cadiz would have definitely lowered their morale ahead of the game against Juventus.
#1 The contrasting form of Ronaldo and Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo has been Juventus’ main man this season so much so that the club has suffered greatly whenever he has not played. In fact, they have received a lot of criticism for being over-reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has scored 10 goals from nine appearances so far this season.
The 35-year-old has been Juventus’ best player this term. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has endured one of the worst starts to a season. Don’t get us wrong, his numbers are still decent but they are not of the level that’s expected of Messi. He has seven goals and two assists from 14 appearances for Barcelona this season.
It is the kind of occasion where the top players step it up but going by their recent form, Ronaldo is expected to outshine Messi tonight.