For the first time since 2004-05, neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi will be a part of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals stage. While Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus were stunned by FC Porto, Lionel Messi and Barcelona succumbed to a heavy defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain after failing to pull off another ‘remontada’ in the last 16 stages.
It’s the second successive year that Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo went out in the round of 16 on away goals after its loss to Lyon last season. This year, goals from Mehdi Taremi and Moussa Marega propelled Porto to their first-ever victory over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League after they secured a 2-1 win over the Italian champions in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Juventus did win the return leg 3-2, however, the Portuguese team advanced on away goals rule after the tie ended 4-4.
Barcelona were blown away by Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou as a hattrick from Kylian Mbappe propelled the French team to a shock 4-1 win. While there were talks of the famous ‘remontada’ ahead of the second leg, as the match started Barcelona were nowhere near to the team that did the unthinkable four years back as they were wasteful throughout the match. Lionel Messi missed a penalty as well as the five-time UEFA Champions League winners ended their 13-years quarterfinal streak. This was the first time since 2006-07 that the Catalan Giants did not qualify for the last eight stages of Europe’s most elite club competition.
The next time these two GOATS play in the UEFA Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo will be 37 and Lionel Messi will be 34. We could also see the Argentine superstar in some other colours the next time UCL commences. Ronaldo could also leave Juventus and join Manchester United, the club with whom he tasted the European Glory first.
This season also saw two players emerge as potential successors to these two superstars. Kylian Mbappe, who scored four goals against Barcelona over the two ties broke Messi’s record as the youngest player to reach 25 Champions League goals in the process. The other one is Borussia Dortmund goal machine, 20-yer-old Erling Haaland has become the quickest player to reach 20 UCL goals. It took him just 14 matches to reach the landmark.
Erling Haaland also scored four goals in Dortmund’s last-16 tie against Sevilla, with the 20-year-old phenom becoming the youngest player to reach 20 Champions League goals.
What Happened in 2004-05?
In the season which is mostly remembered for Liverpool’s epic comeback win against AC Milan in the final Ataturk Olympic Stadium. Cristiano Ronaldo was playing for Manchester United and their journey were cut short by AC Milan as the Italian club won the tie 2-0 on aggregate. Lionel Messi who made his UCL debut for Barcelona that season was eliminated by Chelsea in the last 16 stages, the London-based side won the tie 5-4 on aggregate.