According to Goal.com, The ex-Blaugrana star believes two men with 11 Ballons d’Or between them remain the world’s best and will prove as much when rekindling their rivalry
Lionel Messi has faced accusations of allowing his level to drop in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus in 2018, but Rivaldo believes two superstar performers will prove that they remain the world’s best when rekindling their rivalry in the Champions League.
The group stage draw for European football’s elite club competition has seen Barcelona placed alongside the Bianconeri.
A global audience is already counting down the days until Messi and Ronaldo lock swords again in the heat of battle.
Such meetings were commonplace during the Portuguese icon’s record-setting spell at Real Madrid, but El Clasico has lost some of its spark over the last couple of seasons.
Messi and Ronaldo, with 11 Ballons d’Or between them, are about to meet again, though, and Rivaldo is among those looking forward to seeing two modern day icons cement their legacy.
The former Barcelona playmaker told Betfair: “Barcelona and Juventus were drawn in the same Champions League group and it will be great to see Lionel Messi play against Cristiano Ronaldo again.
“It will light up the competition as the entire world will want to watch their matches. With Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros completing the group, Juve and Barca should easily qualify and battle for the first place.
“Some people have said Messi dropped his performance level a little bit after Ronaldo’s departure from Spain, so this is an excellent chance for both players to be at their best when they face each other.
“It was always a healthy duel between them, which motivated the players, so it will be great to see this positive rivalry renewed for at least 180 minutes.”
Barca have, on the back of a summer that saw Messi push for a move elsewhere, made a bright start to their 2020-21 campaign.
Ansu Fati has taken on a more prominent role at just 17 years of age, but Rivaldo believes a suitable successor to Luis Suarez in a No.9 berth will need to be found in order for the Camp Nou giants to be competitive on multiple fronts.
The Brazilian added: “Barcelona are still searching for a new attacker to replace Luis Suarez. It would be nice to see them sign Memphis Depay, who looks like a good player.
“But it will be tough to find someone with the quality and fighting spirit that helped Suarez to become the third best goal scorer in the club’s history.
“I’m afraid it will be a long time before Barcelona can find a similar player who can finally make fans forget about Suarez.
“All the players who might come in as his replacement in the next few seasons will be compared to him which will add extra pressure on top of the pressure that already comes with wearing the Barcelona shirt.”