Sports | February 23, 2020 4:31 pm

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Both Reach Milestones in Record-Setting Weekend

Let the GOAT debate continue

Lionel Messi celebrates goal
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his first of four goals against Eibar.,
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Soccer fans have been spoiled by following the dueling careers of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the last decade-plus, and on Saturday, the two men reached new career milestones within hours of each other. It’s another chapter in the greatest individual rivalry the sport has ever seen, one that dates back to the mid-2000s and shows no signs of stopping more than a decade later.

First came Messi’s turn in the spotlight, as his Barcelona side hosted La Liga minnows Eibar. Messi, who entered the game on a rare four-game goal drought, got the scoring started early with a 14th minute goal that became a sign of things to come. By the end of the 90 minutes, the Argentine had scored four times, including a late goal where he cruelly dribbled the Eibar goalie for added flair:

That goal brought Messi’s club tally to 696 goals which, combined with his 304 assists, made him the first man to contribute to 1,000 goals in his club career, as noted by Sky Sports.

Not to be outdone by his forever-rival, Ronaldo took the pitch shortly after, with his Juventus side facing SPAL in Italy. Prior to Saturday’s match, which coincidentally was Ronaldo’s 1,000th of his career, the Portuguese icon had scored in 10 straight league games, one shy of a Serie A record. In the 39th minute of the match, he made that 11, scoring a counter-attacking goal that sent him into a tie for the most consecutive games with a goal in league history:

What looked like an unremarkable Saturday for both legends, with their teams playing against opponents they should roundly beat on their way to what they both hope will be league titles this season, turned into yet another date for the history books.

The pair will be back in action this week for their first games of the Champions League knockout rounds. Messi’s Barcelona go away to Napoli for the first leg of their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday, while Ronaldo and Juventus will travel to Lyon for their adjacent fixture on Wednesday.

The pair last faced each other in that competition back in 2011. Here’s hoping there’s at least one more head-to-head battle in their future before they both ride off into the sunset.

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